Organisation: The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre
Project: More Than a Chair
Location: Marrickville, NSW, Australia
Requested Amount: $19,940 from a total project cost of $26,425.
This grant will be used for costs associated with recycling furniture and goods, and to fund project administration and deliveries.
Overview: The More Than a Chair project aims to provide furniture and household essentials to women who are re-establishing a home after escaping homelessness or domestic abuse, or a period of financial insecurity.
Who is the organisation and what is their mission?
The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre pioneers programs to reduce the amount of waste entering landfill by reclaiming household items for reuse, repair and resale at affordable prices and by encouraging communities to engage in repurposing of pre-loved goods.
What is the project that the 100 Women grant will support?
More Than a Chair aims to provide furniture and household essentials to women and girls who are re-establishing a home after experiencing a period of homelessness, fleeing domestic abuse or financial insecurity. The project aims to furnish up to 40 homes with all the necessities to turn a house into a home, including fridges, beds, couches, tables and chairs and kitchenware. The Bower Reuse & Repair Centre also seeks to help people who are downsizing to find new homes for their good quality furniture, providing a reuse alternative with a purpose.
Who is the project for? Who else will benefit?
The More Than a Chair project directly supports women who are moving from crisis accommodation into stable housing.
Why the project is needed?
Since 2011, there has been an increase in homelessness in Western Sydney. According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistic in 2018, homelessness in the electorate of Auburn has increased by 163 per cent, Granville by 79.6 per cent, Parramatta by 68 per cent and Fairfield by 61 per cent. In the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA (Sydney’s inner west), homelessness has increased by 61 per cent, and the Inner West has seen an increase of 17 per cent. Within all of these areas, the largest group experiencing an increase in homelessness is women, up 75 per cent across NSW. The majority of these are in the 65 to 74 age bracket, and statistics show that domestic violence is the dominant contributing factor for women. There are indications that the number of victims of domestic abuse seeking urgent assistance has risen during COVID-19.
Whilst refuges can provide temporary accommodation, once these women (and often children) are provided with supported or social housing, they require furniture and other items to establish a home. This project seeks to provide the essentials to support these women to create a home for themselves.
Why is the solution the best answer to the identified need or opportunity?
When women leave their homes to escape a violent situation, they often don’t have long to plan or pack – many leave with just the clothes on their back. Often, a mother’s instinct to prioritise the comfort and safety of her children before her own will see her pack a precious toy, favourite book or blanket, but neglect to take anything for herself. This extends to home items, and it is often not possible to take any furniture, appliances or homewares.
The opportunity for domestic violence survivors to select quality secondhand furniture, whitegoods and other household items at no charge (including delivery) through More Than a Chair allows women to start a new life without the financial stresses of furnishing a home.
What impact is planned to occur as a result of the project?
By partnering with a network of women’s referral services, More Than a Chair will provide household items directly to women in need. The anticipated benefits to these women and their families include feelings of security, dignity and pride from having a furnished home – providing a level of comfort that cannot be measured.
Are there any notable partners or collaborators?
For this project, the Bower Reuse & Repair Centre will work with the following agencies to ensure women and girls receive the items they require:
- Women & Girls Emergency Centre (Redfern)
- Parramatta Mission (Parramatta)
- Bonnie Support Services (Canley Heights)
- Mary’s House (Lower North Shore)