Refurbishments to the Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) headquarters are complete thanks to a Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.
The refurbished facilities, which officially re-opened late last month, will provide the infrastructure for WLSQ to offer an additional 2000 free legal appointments each year for women suffering the devastating effects of domestic violence and abuse.
In March 2018, Hand Heart Pocket provided $340,000 to help refurbish the WLSQ headquarters in Annerley. The grant, the biggest ever received by the legal service, has been used to remodel their office interior to allow for six extra fully equipped, private offices for confidential legal appointments.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the refurbished facilities would provide a safe, comfortable and accessible space for Queensland women in need.
“Hand Heart Pocket plays a critical role in the community. Every year, we provide millions in much needed funding to help other charities grow and extend the valuable services they provide,” Mr Mark said.
“This project is directly in line with our goal of making an impact on financial and physical security for women – a critical issue in our community today.”
Women’s Legal Service Queensland Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch said the organisation had been helping women experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault or family law issues for more than 35 years and demand for its services was rising.
“We help over 16,000 clients a year, but the need for free legal assistance is growing,” said Ms Lynch.
“The statistics are staggering. One in three clients hold fears for their safety or the safety of their children, and 25 percent are at risk of homelessness. One in five Queensland women experience domestic violence.
“Thanks to our refurbishments, more women who are impacted by domestic violence and abuse will be able to access our services.”
In 1996, the not-for-profit service moved to its historic Annerley premises in order to extend its community reach. The building has a rich history of women supporting other women and was previously a hospice for war widows.
Photo: (from left) Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland Alan Townson; The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO; and Hand Heart Pocket Chairman Tom Wiltshire cut the cake to celebrate the office re-opening of the Women’s Legal Service Queensland office.