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Friends with Dignity scholarships offer a helping hand

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Help is at hand for Hunter children affected by domestic violence (DV) through Friends with Dignity’s Little Friends Scholarships, which open on 21 June.

Young people aged between five and 18 can gain up to $500 to help them with their education or to participate in extra-curricular activities that they can’t pursue because of the financial impact of domestic and family violence.

Program manager Jaqui Brosnan said the scholarships were another way Friends with Dignity assisted kids to live happy, healthy and inclusive lives.

Jaqui Brosnan.

“Sometimes children need help with the basics of school fees, uniforms, a laptop, textbooks or school supplies – expenses which can all add up,” she explained.

“We also find that students can miss out on excursions or camps, which are an important place for them to maintain friendships and to learn new skills.

“Our scholarships have helped kids with the cost of participating in sport, music or the arts, too.

“One grant allowed a little girl to buy a violin.

“Any time she heard music she was reduced to tears because her father had played loud music while being violent towards her mother.

“She is now enjoying and playing music herself.”

This is the ninth round of scholarships, which are issued twice a year.

To date, $194,775 has been given out to 394 young people.

Ms Brosnan said the scholarships were possible thanks to generous sponsors and donors.

“We would welcome more supporters because applications always exceed the amount of funds available,” she added.

Applications close 16 July and the scholarships will be awarded from the end of that month.

To apply visit www.friendswithdignity.org.au

Friends with Dignity is a volunteer-based charity, which works with refuge and crisis centres to offer practical programs to help survivors of DV to re-build their lives with purpose, dignity and hope.

As well as scholarships, its Sanctuary Program – that received a Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation grant last month – transforms houses into sanctuaries for people escaping violence in the Hunter.

It also provides monitored personal safety devices for women and men escaping violence as well as toys and activity packs for children impacted by violence.

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