Volunteers' Week - Thank You Wendy Forrest

Wendy Forrest admits she was shocked to the core by what she has read and heard in her work at McAuley Community Services for Women. But instead of putting her off volunteering with the organisation, she has taken on more work.

Wendy, a medical science academic, took a break from her job, and ended up immersed in some major projects as a volunteer. She began an evaluation of McAuley House, but in recent weeks was co-opted to work with the team writing our submission for the Royal Commission into Family Violence due at the end of May.

“It’s all hands on deck until that is done, as it a terrific opportunity to get some of the organisation’s programs and initiatives read about at this level, and hopefully taken up, so we can help to improve the lives of women and their children escaping family violence,” Wendy said.

The evaluation of McAuley House has already led to some important improvements in service delivery for the women who live there and along the way, Wendy has made some personal discoveries.

“I have had some wonderful, enlightening conversations with women from McAuley House, and have learnt a lot from them. Their openness to share their life stories has provided me with an insight into homelessness that I would never have had without their generosity. More recently while having conversations with women at McAuley Care, I have been humbled by their stories, and inspired by the determination and courage shown by them to seek a life free from violence, intimidation and fear,” she said.

Wendy’s involvement with McAuley Community Services for Women began with the purchase of an ‘I Care’ bracelet and then donations of goods to the Kensington office. It was during a visit delivering goods that she was ‘discovered’ by CEO Jocelyn Bignold.

“Joce discovered my academic background and asked me to do some writing, and that, as they say is history! I was taking a break from work so it was perfect timing and made me feel useful- which it still does.” Wendy said.

Wendy doesn’t miss a chance to spread the word about McAuley Community Services for Women in the hope that her friends will respond by contributing to the organisation in some way, which they have done in various ways, including establishing a Catherine Circle contribution group as a result of a McAuley morning tea.