Hundreds gathered for a gala dinner at Manly to raise funds for women in need.

The Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter (NBWS) held its annual gala fund-raising dinner on Saturday evening (06 April) at the Manly Pacific. The main ballroom of the hotel at North Steyne, Manly, was packed with several hundred guests and the ‘Roll Out The Red Carpet’ event was kicked off with a healthy auction of a chilled bottle off Moët & Chandon champagne for $3k.

Northern Beaches Women's Shelter Chair Rosy Sullivan

NBWS Chair Rosy Sullivan (image above) asked the room to dig deep, revealing that up to $100k raised for the evening would see a $25k bonus contribution from a mystery benefactor.

However, she informed the room if fund-raising for the evening exceeded $100k, the anonymous donor would match every dollar raised.

Manly MP James Griffin at the Northern Beaches Women's Shelter 2024 Gala Dinner

NBWS Patron and Member for Manly James Griffin (image above) called on those in the room to beat the target, highlighting that every dollar raised went directly to help the NBWS through its existing premises and the new premises being built, both based on the Northern Beaches.

Ms Sullivan explained that until now, over 90 percent of the funding for NBWS has been raised privately. That mix is set to change, with the new premises being built receiving $6m NSW Government support through the ‘Core and Cluster’ program.

Northern Beaches Women's Shelter Manager Narelle Hand

NBWS Manager Narelle Hand (image above) outlined how the new premises would support women with children to reduce the impact of their trauma.

“This is a major milestone, and it means that we can expand our reach. The property which has been purchased would not have been possible without many in this room today.

“This house is now an asset that will provide ongoing care for women and children in need. The expansion means that when a woman has restoration with her children, she can stay with our service.

“If a woman is pregnant, once the baby is born, she’s no longer forced to leave the service. This is a real relief for people who come for help.

“The evidence is clear. Retelling your story over and over again to services creates trauma. Providing a continuing care model helps people recover from trauma and heal,” said Ms Hand.

Playing a video about the shelter during the gala dinner, Ms Hand said that unfortunately, they were seeing an increased need for the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter service.

“Domestic abuse continues to be the primary reason for women coming to the shelter, and we continue to see more women who are seeking and needing accommodation.

“We continue to see these women because they feel unsafe to stay in their homes. Domestic abuse is still the leading cause of homelessness for women in our community,” said Ms Hand.

In addition to the benefactors who packed the room, the event was well attended by Northern Beaches Councillors, including Mayor Sue Heins, Deputy Mayor Georgia Ryburn (image above, left), and Councillors Karina Page (image above, right), Candy Bingham, Kristyn Glanville and Sarah Grattan.

Wakehurst MP Michael Regan at the Northern Beaches Women's Shelter 2024 Gala Dinner

Long-time NBWS supporter and Wakehurst MP Michael Regan (image above, left) also attended the dinner to show his support. Mr Regan kicked off the bidding on the bottle of Moët but was not the eventual winner.

The Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter is a registered not-for-profit charity based at Manly that needs almost a million dollars a year to stay operational, the majority of which must be raised from private donors. Thanks to the matching funds from the mystery benefactor, it is understood the gala dinner will raise over $400k. They still need more to help women in need. To donate, visit their website.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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