Cessnock miners dig deep for womens refuge Jodie’s Place

It’s been nine months since Cessnock women’s refuge Jodie’s Place officially opened but the need for continual community support is still ongoing.

Established by the Hunter Domestic Violence Support and Advisory Services (HDVSAS), the refuge is named after Bellbird resident Jodie Jurd, who died in 2011 as the result of domestic violence. 

Austar Coal CFMEU representatives Heath Jurd, Rod Bower, Jamie Mitchell, Craig Dodds and Daniel Stewart with Hunter Domestic violence’s Rozanne Shettler and Paula Mudd

Austar Coal CFMEU representatives Heath Jurd, Rod Bower, Jamie Mitchell, Craig Dodds and Daniel Stewart with Hunter Domestic violence’s Rozanne Shettler and Paula Mudd

Since opening its doors, the house has provided a safe haven to numerous families affected by domestic violence. 

But HDVSAS chairperson Paula Mudd said that the service comes at a cost and the non-for-profit organisation needs all the help they can get to keep its doors open. 

“The community support that we have received has been brilliant, but money is tight,” she said.

“Everything that comes in we use to keep the place going and it is not cheap.

“It is an uphill battle and unfortunately we are having to wear a lot of the costs personally and we are struggling at the moment.”

Besides financial burdens, Ms. Mudd said that a lack of volunteers is also weighing heavily on the organisation.

“We need people movers and we need people who are willing to do the everyday tasks that go into keeping a house running,” she said.

“Keeping the doors open is the most important thing. 

“But because we are volunteer-based there is a certain criteria that volunteers have to meet before they can get involved. 

“We owe a duty of care to the woman in the house and that is a big responsibility.”

Representatives from the Energy Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) at Cessnock’s Austar Coal recently donated $5000 to Jodie’s Place out of their own funds.

Spokesperson Daniel Stewart said it was important to the men that they were able to support a local charity.

“We know what Paula and the team at Jodie’s Place are doing is important and is a good thing and we wanted to show our support for that,” he said. 

 “We are putting the call out to other businesses in Cessnock to do the same, to make sure that this refuge is around for a long time to come.” 

Ms. Mudd said that the donation was a welcome relief for the refuge.

“We have received so much support since opening, we can’t thank people enough,” she said. 

“The Cessnock community in particular has been amazing.

“We never want to sound ungrateful and every little thing we receive from people does go a long way.”

Austar Coal’s CFMEU are now organising a charity golf day to help raise more funds for Jodie’s Place.

The event will be held at Stonebridge Golf Club on Friday, May 2 with breakfast, lunch and a round of golf planned.

For more information, call Kim on 0414 319 523 or email jodiesgolfday@gmail.com.

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