HELPING HAND: RizeUp founder Nicolle Edwards and event co-ordinator Judy Friedman are helping women escaping domestic violence.
HELPING HAND: RizeUp founder Nicolle Edwards and event co-ordinator Judy Friedman are helping women escaping domestic violence. Sherele Moody

Aid program arrives to help those fleeing home violence

AN INNOVATIVE material aid program helping mums and children impacted by domestic violence start their lives over has arrived in our region.

The ground-breaking volunteer-based support service RizeUp has extended from the Gold Coast to the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

RizeUp issues appeals for donations of household goods and gift vouchers from community members through its Facebook and other social media pages.

These are then used to furnish housing for mothers and children whose own homes are no longer safe because of intimate partner and family abuse.

The program started on the Gold Coast but founder Nicolle Edwards is determined to see it operate in every community across Queensland and the Lismore and Grafton regions of NSW.

Ms Edwards said RizeUp was helping at least 10 people a week and she expected that number to grow rapidly as RizeUp expanded its catchment areas.

"We're linked in and take referrals directly from refuge organisations and what we're seeing is such a dire need for families to be supported with practical items," Ms Edwards said.

"They are leaving everything they have behind them.

"The only way we are going to break that cycle is to step in as a community and help victims."

Ms Edwards said RizeUp would not take government funding because domestic violence needed a community response.

"It's not just a man's issue or a woman's issue - it's a community issue and we have to partner with each community to stand up and get this sorted out," she said.

Lismore residents can help RizeUp in a number of ways.

They can join the organisation as volunteers or they can donate furnishings such as cupboards, beds and kitchenware, supermarket gift cards or money to help pay for tenancy bonds and other housing set-up costs or education needs for children.

"Everybody has the capacity to help," Ms Edwards said.

"Whether it's with your time, your skill base, through your contacts or through money.

'We need volunteers, people from all pathways around the community to join us, help us because we are 100% volunteer driven and we need everyone to stand with us and rise up."

To help RizeUp visit facebook.com/RizeUpAustralia.



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