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Bella’s Sanctuary, a bridge to a fresh start in life

Giving Back
September 16, 2019

 Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz; the Honourable Di Farmer QLD Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence; and, Halcyon Joint Managing Director Paul Melville

A long-held Halcyon dream is now a reality with the handover and opening of the DVConnect bridging accommodation facility on the northern Gold Coast. This is a project that Halcyon, home owners and staff have put their heart and soul into, and we’re so grateful for everyone’s compassion and support. 

With Mirvac and Queensland’s domestic violence helpline DVConnect, we’ve worked together to create a safe and comfortable place where survivors can make a fresh start in life. It represents a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the private and not-for-profit sectors in Queensland. 

Thanks to the generous support of more than 90 sub-contractors and suppliers, who donated almost 60 per cent of the building costs, construction of this desperately needed accommodation took just over 12 months. 

During that time, Halcyon’s home owners banded together to raise a staggering $50,000 for the project. This money was used to fit-out the facility with household appliances and furniture so that women and their children feel right at home. 

The result is Australia’s first purpose-built bridging accommodation facility, Bella’s Sanctuary, for survivors of domestic violence. It is owned and operated by DVConnect. Halcyon Joint Managing Director Dr Bevan Geissmann said the company is proud to have created a vehicle for the enormous generosity and goodwill that exists in our community towards addressing this serious issue. 

“We regard safe accommodation as crucial to breaking the cycle of domestic violence by allowing affected families to start afresh in security and peace,” Bevan said. DVConnect Board Chairwoman Shaan Ross-Smith said the facility would support Queensland women and children fleeing violent homes. 

“The most basic and practical things have been taken from then and they somehow need to create a whole new life, in circumstances where they are suffering complex emotional trauma and loss,” Shaan said. 

“Rebuilding lives, sorting out financial affairs, establishing a rental history, looking for work, and dealing with emotional trauma takes time. “Offering this type of bridging accommodation for three to 12-month periods will provide a safe, stable and supportive environment for women and children rebuilding their lives.” 

Queensland Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said the project demonstrated what can be achieved when the corporate sector supports community organisations like DVConnect. 

“Having somewhere safe and supportive to go can make all the difference to women wanting to leave a dangerous and violent situation,” Ms Farmer said. The facility will receive ongoing funding from the Queensland Government.