IKEA makeover revitalises women’s refuge

15 July 2016

Families escaping domestic violence will benefit from a more comfortable and welcoming space following renovations at a local women’s refuge.

As part of IKEA’s Living Local Community Grants program, UnitingCare Community’s Koolkuna/Kalparrin women’s domestic violence refuge was awarded $5,000 to improve the refuge. The makeover took four days to complete and concluded on Thursday 14 July.

Service Coordinator Debbie Bruford said the refuge had been in desperate need of freshening up and the improvements had far exceeded their expectations.

“The aim of the makeover was to create a more uplifting feeling throughout the refuge. The space is looking absolutely amazing and is now a fresh, welcoming, inviting place for women and children escaping domestic violence,” Ms Bruford said.

An interior designer briefed staff at the refuge on the makeover plans which focused on neutral base colours with pops of contrasting colours, and lots of greenery.

IKEA staff arrived at the refuge with a truck full of flat-packed boxes. They began the renovations by applying a coat of fresh white paint to the 1980s peach-coloured walls, and the colour change provided an instant improvement. On the second day, 15 IKEA staff got to work assembling furniture, placing it in the refuge units and working on the communal outdoor balcony area.

“We were particularly delighted to see the outdoor balcony transformed from a drab old deck to an inviting, comfortable space where mums and children will be able to relax,” Ms Bruford said.

Finishing touches included photo collages on the walls as well as placement of indoor plants and flowers.

“We have been so fortunate to have this amazing group of IKEA staff volunteering their time and going above and beyond to refresh our refuge. They provided a number of elements pro bono – contributing the painting of the units which was outside the scope of the grant, and helping us to install our recently purchased curtain rods and TVs.”

As one family returned to the refuge following the makeover, staff heard gasps and exclamations of “Mum! Look at this!” from the children, who ran from chair to chair trying out each one.

“Our staff and clients are thrilled about the improvements that have been made and we sincerely thank IKEA for their generosity,” Ms Bruford said.

The refuge offers accommodation and support, therapeutic interventions, safety planning for the future, and addressing immediate support and safety needs for women and children across the Brisbane region.

“It takes great courage for women to overcome their fears about reporting violence. We are here to support them as they rebuild their lives and move forward.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, help is available. If you are in immediate danger, call 000. For 24-hour crisis support, phone 1800 RESPECT, DV Connect on 1800 811 811, or the Lifeline Crisis Line on 13 11 14.

Media enquiries: email media@uccommunity.org.au or phone (07) 3253 4000.

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