3 May 2024

Lakeside lunch event aims to raise more than $75,000 for women's refuge centre in Albury

| Vanessa Hayden
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Team of restuarant staff with balloons

The team at The Boat Shed Lake Hume hope to beat last year’s record of raising $75,000 in one lunch event for Albury’s Betty’s Place Refuge Centre. Photo: Supplied.

Albury’s The Boat Shed Lake Hume will host one of their biggest events of the year today (3 May) in an effort to raise significant funds for Betty’s Place Women’s Refuge.

Some 188 (mostly) women from around the region will converge on the lakeside restaurant for the annual pre-Mother’s Day lunch which last year raised $75,000 for the not-for-profit organisation and lead agent for all homelessness services in the southern Murrumbidgee.

Event organisers say they hope to top that sum this year as it comes at a time when Betty’s Place is planning expansion with a development application for a new $6.1 million crisis refuge centre to be built in East Albury recently approved.

The Boat Shed Lake Hume event manager Crystal O’Brien said the lunch was the culmination of months of work and a team of 18 staff will ensure all the guests have a great day while contributing to a worthy cause.

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“This is one of the biggest events we stage here annually. Our weddings normally cater for 150 people, but for this event, we’ve made changes to the internal layout so we can cater for a bigger group.

“It’s a massive effort, but it’s well worth it to see the funds raised. Betty’s Place is a cause dear to our owner, Rosy Seaton, and she has chosen to support women in need through this event.

“It’s such an amazing event and quite emotional for our staff members just to see the money raised. We work so hard in the lead up to the day, and when it comes together and we raise the money, it is amazing to be a part of it.”

The $145 ticket price is contributed in full to Betty’s Place with much of the food, drinks, raffle and auction prizes all donated by local businesses.

“Our fundraising specialist Terri Hollis has done an incredible job. There are goodie bags for every guest, 57 raffle prizes valued between $100 and $500, and thousands of dollars worth of auction items that have all been donated.

“Again this year, we’ll be staging the live auction, which we introduced last year. It’s really great fun, and last year, we raised $10,000 just for one of the prizes: a five-night stay at Astra in Falls Creek with a food and beverage package.

“That’s up again this year, and we are expecting a bit of a bidding war again between some of the area’s influential businesswomen. It will be very entertaining, I’m sure!”

Group of people hold large fundraising cheque of $75,000

Can they beat last year’s record of $75,000 raised and amass a greater sum for Betty’s Place at the 3 May lunch event at Lake Hume? Photo: Supplied.

Other auction items sure to attract a battle include two-night stays at Rutherglen and Bright, an all-inclusive gym membership with Fernwood Fitness and diamond earrings from Johanna Mroz Jewellery.

“With 57 raffle prizes it’s quite exciting and our team make sure it’s gets drawn in a short time frame,” said Crystal.

“It works out well, everyone is happy and at least a quarter of the room should get to take something home.”

She said the luncheon has been running for five years with early events garnering $30,000 – $40,000 in funds raised.

“We really want to push the amount up again this year as Betty’s Place is upgrading its accommodation to be able to take in more women in the future.

“Year after year there are always so many women using the service.

“It’s so important to be able to contribute additional funds to ensure they can operate and help women and their children who are facing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.”

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Betty’s Place is operated by Yes Unlimited who also co-ordinate The Hive Youth Resource Centre in Lavington and Broughton House Youth Refuge in Albury.

According to Yes Unlimited’s chief executive, Di Glover, there has been an increase in the number of women seeking help for family and domestic violence in the region.

“We know Murray district police responded to 753 incidents in the past 12 months and 418 of those were in the Albury local government area alone,” she said.

“It’s an increase that’s … unprecedented.”

She said the fundraising effort led by Traverse Alpine Group’s Rosy Seaton was the single biggest donation Betty’s Place received from a local business.

“Donations like this are very important; we do receive government funding, but of course, that doesn’t cover even basic operating costs these days, let alone going anywhere toward buying the extras that make a place like Betty’s a home.

“But the day is about more than just the financial aspect for me, it’s about our community standing up, being part of the solution and doing something about it.

“The community awareness and action that comes about as a result of an event like this is just as important to me as the actual donation.

“Everybody that has been involved from Traverse, to the sponsors and the people that buy tickets and attend all contribute to a far wider and broader reaching impact and for that we are very grateful.”

If you would like to support Betty’s Place Women’s Refuge, visit www.yesunlimited.com.au. You can also support Betty’s Place through the provision of vouchers for things such as movie tickets, beauty treatments, haircuts, children’s activities and they can be dropped to the Yes Unlimited Hub at 652 Macauley Street, Albury.

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