Art for Holistic Avenue

Sarah Todd, Renee Ellison and Michelle Hunt are raising funds for Holistic Avenue Inc.

Sarah Todd, Renee Ellison and Michelle Hunt are raising funds for Holistic Avenue Inc.

There's an upcoming art night to raise funds for a local organisation called Holistic Avenue Inc, and that might have a few of us asking, "what is that?"

So we sat down with Renee Ellison, along with Michelle Hunt and Sarah Todd, to talk about the event and the service.

Holistic Avenue Inc is a charity that's based right here in Forbes, offering a free, trauma-informed family and domestic violence support service for women and children.

It's totally volunteer-based at this stage, the upcoming fundraiser is to help meet some of their costs including insurance.

The service is something that Forbes' Renee Ellison, who is a counsellor and has also worked as a financial counsellor, saw the need for in our community.

The needs and impacts that surround domestic or family violence are so individual, and the systems of assistance can be so complex, that she saw a need to come alongside women in that situation.

She gathered a board and a team of professionals who were willing and able to donate their services, and Holistic Avenue was formed about two years ago.

The team includes a counsellor, financial counsellor, solicitor and specialist Aboriginal support.

A big part of it is helping women navigate the services they need, and that can range from legal advice to the National Victims Redress Scheme for those who experienced institutional abuse.

"As we go along, we see gaps and look at how we can support other services," Renee explains.

Renee receives referrals from other organisations including court advocacy, our local women's refuge and other services in the community.

It's called Holistic Avenue, because the team acknowledges that people who are or have been involved in family violence situations have a long journey, and the impacts are wide-reaching

"The client, and their kids, are at the centre," she explains.

For Michelle Hunt, who pastors Generocity with her husband, it's a way to support the community

Holistic Avenue is independent of Generocity church, but the church has team members with experience in the field and offers meeting space for the team members to meet with clients.

They've now also launched a women's support group on Fridays, with morning tea provided, where women can come and catch up over a cuppa.

"The group is a safe place," Michelle says.

"It's just a chance to connect but also know that it's a safe place and we can refer you on to services.

"We only involved people with an understanding of domestic violence and the need for a safe, confidential service."

All three women are passionate about surrounding women with understanding, non-judgmental supporters.

Sarah is all set to host the art night to raise funds for the cause.

"It's an opportunity to get together and enjoy a night out," she says.

There's a COVID-safe plan in place so bookings are essential online at eventbrite.com.au

Tickets are $30 and include refreshments, as well as the chance to create your own masterpiece with Sarah's step-by-step guidance.

If you need support you can email holisticavenue@hotmail.com or go online to www.holiticavenue.com.au to find out more. They're also on Facebook and instagram