Support comes at critical time for family violence service Holistic Avenue

Founder of Holistic Avenue, Renee Ellison.

Founder of Holistic Avenue, Renee Ellison.

You can still leave home if it's not a safe place for you.

Family and domestic violence support services are hard at work during lockdown, and there for those who need them: that's the message from Renee Ellison at Holistic Avenue.

The local charity works with other organisations to offer free, trauma-informed family and domestic violence support for women and children.

Unfortunately - at just the time they were branching out to raise funds for some of their critical costs - lockdown has impacted those opportunities and they've seen an increase in the need for their services.

So there couldn't have been a better time for some good news for them: they've received a real boost with a support package from a global program by Vistaprint.

The Forbes charity was one of six Australian businesses chosen from almost 2000 applicants for Vistaprint's pandemic support program 99 Days of Design.

These businesses were selected by a panel of business experts and entrepreneurs including Vistaprint Australia CEO Marcus Marchant, 99designs by Vistaprint CEO Patrick Llewellyn, alongside entrepreneurs Twice Blessed and artist Rachael Sarra.

Holistic Avenue was given the opportunity to work with a graphic designer to refine their brand and create resources including brochures, business cards and shirts for the team to help them get the message out there in future.

It also includes a $15,000 financial donation which will help with costs such as insurance, critical after the group's fundraising efforts were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainties.

It could not have come at a better time for Holistic Avenue, a service that's been birthed in the past couple of years in response to need in Forbes.

"We can't put into words how thrilled we are to have been selected by 99designs by Vistaprint and Vistaprint," Renee said.

"This support and money will allow us to create more awareness for the charity so that we can really ramp up our fundraising in 2021.

"While COVID has impacted our ability to fundraise hugely, our services have never been more needed.

"We are so thankful to be able to continue the great work we do, and hopefully with this new lease of life, extend our services further to support those in need."

Holistic Avenue is a Forbes-born organisation founded by Renee, a counsellor who has also worked as a financial counsellor.

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.

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

At this time, her message to those in a family violence situation is that you can reach out for support to get to safety.

Everything is working a little differently at this time but police and other services are working.

In an emergency call police on 000 (triple zero) but Renee says you can reach out to whichever local service you are comfortable contacting: they work together and will help you find what you need.

You can contact Forbes police on 02 6853 9999 or Holistic Avenue Forbes through Facebook, Instagram, their website www.holisticavenue.com.au/contact-us or 0407 127 711.