By Marjorie Voss OAM
NCWQ Child and Family Adviser
In February I received an email from the CEO of the Lady Musgrave Trust, Karen Lyon Reid which read in part as follows. “ Today we are proud to announce that The Lady Musgrave Trust is launching ‘The Handy Guide’ mobile website application, potentially helping thousands of women without safe and secure accommodation in Queensland, to access services and support.
The Handy Guide is one of the most important documents we produce. It contains emergency contacts, sheltered accommodation support, legal services, health and nutrition services and counseling for homeless women.
The Handy Guide mobile website is currently available for Brisbane, but from April this year, the digital Handy Guide will also cover regional areas of Cairns, Townsville, Ipswich, Mt.Isa, Maroochydore, Mackay, Caboolture, Toowoomba and Bundaberg.
The Handy Guide mobile website can be used on desktops, smartphones and tablets. The interactive map allows a user to key in their location and find the services they require, which are closest to them.
If you are a Service Provider, you are also able to have a say in the content included in the physical copy of The Handy Guide and the mobile website version. Included on the website is a tab for Service Providers to update information or request to be listed in The Handy Guide.
We would like to acknowledge the support from the State Government’s Dignity First Funding (an initiative by the Department of Housing and Public Works), from Centacare and Griffith University. Without their support, The Handy Guide mobile website would not be possible.
To visit The Handy Guide mobile website, use https://thehandyguide.com/. “
Karen is encouraging us to share this link across social media, with family and friends and with any homeless or near-homeless women, we may come in contact with. If you follow this link you will also find a Media release from the Hon. Mick de Brenni containing further information and also stating that $50,000 was received by the Lady Musgrave Trust to assist with The Handy Guide mobile website.
While the above project will help so many homeless women in Queensland I have another much smaller but nevertheless caring project which is helping to restore dignity to some women right on my doorstep on Bribie Island. My hairdresser in her aim to give dignity to and support women suffering from homelessness and domestic violence in the community is providing two ladies (and their children) every week with free pampering in her salon. They may also take for themselves anything they need from two large baskets containing essential/luxury/children’s items which are regularly donated by my hairdresser and her clients. The various ladies who attend each week are recommended by Domestic Violence personnel and reports have it that this small caring act is having a positive effect on their wellbeing. My hairdresser is hoping that maybe all hairdressers on Bribie Island and further afield may choose to open their doors to provide this small but important act which shows that people care.
It just goes to prove that even though we need the Government and bigger organisations to work on the “bigger picture of domestic violence and homelessness” even the smallest act of kindness and “hands-on” help by individuals and smaller organisations can have a positive effect on those in need.