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Big hearts and generosity


Women and children fleeing domestic violence and people experiencing homelessness are receiving much-needed assistance, thanks to donations from Catholic Women’s League branches around South Australia.

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Over the past 12 months the CWL collected items that were donated to support the domestic violence and homelessness services run by Centacare Catholic Family Services. Donations included new clothes, towels, bedding, electrical goods, dinner sets, household goods, toiletries, cleaning products, gift cards and bus cards.

At the CWL’s annual general meeting held in the Cathedral Hall recently, a cheque for money raised was also presented to Megan Welsh, executive manager of Centacare’s Domestic Violence, Homelessness and Youth Services.

“We’re very grateful,” Ms Welsh told the members at the AGM. “It means a lot to the recipients to know that someone in the community cares about them.”

Over the past 12 months, the CWL and Centacare joined forces for a project enabling CWL branches to support Centacare in myriad ways.

“For some, it meant purchasing a few extra items in the supermarket like extra shampoo, soap, or feminine hygiene products,” said CWL secretary Sue Williams. “Other branches held fundraisers and donated cash.”

Centacare, which started in 1942, supports approximately 20,000 clients a year, 5000 of whom are young people. More than 550 staff work at Centacare to deliver 63 community services across 33 sites in South Australia.

“We deliver services across metropolitan and regional Australia and have specialist domestic violence services in the Limestone Coast, in the Murraylands, the Adelaide Hills, the Riverland, and in Whyalla,” Ms Welsh said.

Centacare also offers onsite accommodation with 24-hour onsite support through the Young Family Support Program (YFSP) at Louise Place in Fullarton, Malvern Place in Blair Athol, and Coolock House in Morphett Vale.

“We work with young women who are pregnant, parenting and homeless,” Ms Welsh said. “A lot of them come to us because of domestic violence.”

“Last year, we supported 672 women and children fleeing domestic violence across the regions we serve.

“We also have 171 women and 196 children in the Young Family Support program.”

“When women come to us in a domestic violence situation, one of our roles is to support them to find safe accommodation.

“There’s a lot of different accommodation that we can supply. They’re always full, and we always have waiting lists, but we do our best to service people in crisis.

“Women often leave domestic violence situations after hours, so we work very closely with the local police to find women and children emergency housing, which could be a motel, a hotel, or a caravan park, and then we gradually move people into more permanent accommodation.”

Centacare’s services are widespread in providing services for families with parenting and relationship issues, NDIS support, carer support, aged care, health, wellbeing, and education.

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To get involved with the Catholic Women’s League of South Australia visit

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