Federal member for Page Kevin Hogan has announced almost $100,000 in funding for Heartfelt House to continue offering its wide range of services to adults sexually abused as children; including their 18 week Taking the First Steps program.
Funding for the Alstonville-based centre of adults of childhood sexual abuse was due to run out on June 30.
“Vicki from Heartfelt House contacted my office fearful that the service would have to close due to the lack of funding. I immediately started lobbying Human Services Minister Kevin Andrews to make sure money was found in this year’s budget,” Mr Hogan said.
Alstonville-based Heartfelt House has been providing support to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and the family and friends to our community for since 2005.
Its successful Taking the First Steps program is designed specifically for adults sexually abused as children and allows for flexibility to meet the specific characteristics and needs of each group. It is designed to create awareness, give information, and explore thoughts, behaviours and feelings related to the trauma of the sexual abuse in the past and how it influences participants’ lives today.
Mr Hogan said previous governments had funded Heartfelt House on a year-by-year basis, meaning that the service had no certainty it would exist beyond July each year.
“In this budget, we have established the Strengthening Communities Programme that will provide funding over a five-year period. This will allow Heartfelt House and other groups to apply for secure ongoing funding, allowing it to develop sustainable plans to ensure the services it provides are always available to those in need.”
Executive director of Heartfelt House Vicki Dobrunz said she was relieved that the funding had been secured.
“We are very grateful to Kevin Hogan for securing this funding. His passion and perseverance to ensure Heartfelt House remained open was admirable,” she said.
“Heartfelt House requires $200,000 per annum to run at its maximum capacity; this funding means we are half way there and gives us the space to concentrate on securing funding from the new Strengthening Communities Program; which if successful would mean up to five years of recurrent funding.”
Program Development Coordinator at Heartfelt House Heidi Tornow said we all have the responsibility of helping survivors of child sexual abuse.
“Heartfelt House has a one-year waiting list; we have the program, we have the expertise, we have the survivors wanting to the program and thankfully we now have at least a good portion of the funds required,” she said.