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Jenny’s Place offers ray of ‘Sunshine’ for local children

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A ground-breaking pilot program will be rolled out at Jenny’s Place to deliver early intervention for children who have experienced domestic and family violence.

Thanks to a $127,700 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (NPCF), the Sunshine Hut was launched on Tuesday 11 April in the company of Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp, as well as representatives from the crisis accommodation centre, University of Newcastle (UoN) and the benevolent organisation itself.

Youngsters will now receive treatment from provisional psychologists and postgraduate students, under the guidance of an experienced clinical supervisor.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation chair Jennifer Leslie, Jenny’s Place executive officer Marcia Chapman, University of Newcastle’s registered psychologies and placement supervisor Saskia Behan and Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp. Photo: Rod Thompson

Jenny’s Place executive manager Marcia Chapman admitted the Sunshine Hut would make a huge difference in the lives of many people.

“The effect of domestic and family violence on children is profound,” she said.

“Sadly, that trauma can impact every aspect of their lives.

“Children are unable to articulate their feelings and might act out, or have low self-esteem, trouble concentrating or struggle to build trusting relationships.

“It affects everyone differently.

“And, unfortunately, this can impact their lives into adulthood and also lead to mental health issues including anxiety and depression, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Jenny’s Place executive officer Marcia Chapman. Photo: Rod Thompson

“Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation’s grant will enable us to develop a trauma-informed, best-practice program that helps to improve the parent-child relationship and foster healing for these families, which can be implemented across other services in the community.

“We’ve worked closely with the UoN’s School of Psychological Sciences to ensure the initiative meets all the necessary requirements.

“So, we are extremely grateful to the foundation for this incredible opportunity.”

University of Newcastle’s registered psychologies and placement supervisor Saskia Behan. Photo: Rod Thompson

University of Newcastle’s registered psychologies and placement supervisor Saskia Behan praised the NPCF, too.

“The grant is enormously generous,” she said.

“But, it’s something we’re incredibly passionate about.

“Children aren’t broken… it’s important to offer them hope around recovery and a better future.

“The program should be in every refuge.”

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation chair Jennifer Leslie. Photo: Rod Thompson

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation chair Jennifer Leslie said the organisation was thrilled to assist Jenny’s Place.

“This grant will support the operation of the Sunshine Hut clinic, aiding more than 50 children receive expert help to recover more quickly from trauma and build resilience,” she added.

“It’s early days for the Sunshine Hut, but already there are 12 families engaged in the program – and all current casework staff are booked in for training in June.

“Jenny’s Place will then be able to assess this innovative pilot and ensure it can be rolled out more broadly.”

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