Catherine Circle funding boost employment program

Dr Alice Powley* went into the Catherine Circle launch event last year knowing little about the initiative, but keen to support an organisation working against family violence and homelessness. She came away having donated to a project looking at employment for women who are homeless because of family violence or mental health issues.

It seemed a ‘no brainer’ to Alice that the Catherine Circle should fund the McAuley Works Review, which will enable McAuley Community Services for Women to build the evidence base of the ongoing value and effectiveness of the McAuley Works program.

As a researcher Alice likes the concept of the Catherine Circle, which enables members to vote on projects that are of equal importance, but without donor money cannot go ahead.

At the launch night the winning project was safe@home - a project to assist women and children to be able to stay in their own homes and for that environment to be made safe for them.

Alice’s contribution to the Catherine Circle helped make the McAuley Works review possible.

Alice, a leading researcher with a nationally-recognised research organisation, believes the provision of services for women who are homeless because of family violence is a worthwhile investment.

“I have some knowledge of the impact of family violence through people I know. The behaviour of a violent partner can mean a woman is controlled and isolated and kept financially dependent in some cases. This makes most of her life difficult, including her capacity to hold down a job or find work,” Alice said.

“McAuley Community Services for Women appealed to me because they are working at a grass roots level directly with the women who are abused and homeless and who have a range of needs, including employment needs.”

Alice has been a long-term supporter of other organisations, particularly related to breast and gynaecological cancer support services. She is drawn to organisations made up of staff, volunteers and supporters all focusing on the needs of the women at the core of their work.

“So many organisations struggle to keep very important services going because of successive governments not providing enough funding. When I went to the Catherine Circle event I realised how difficult it was for the organisation to choose between two very important projects,” she said.

*Not her real name

Find out more about the Catherine Circle