Highly commended for The Haven

HIGHLY COMMENDED: City of Mount Gambier mayor Lynette Martin received the award from chief public health officer professor Nicola Spurrier. Picture: Supplied

Sophie Conlon

The City of Mount Gambier has come away from the 2023 Minister for Health and Wellbeing – Excellence in Public Health Awards with a highly commended award for its support of The Haven.

The awards were open to councils across the state to recognise their efforts, public health achievements and highlight the role councils play in protecting community health and wellbeing.

Located at the Mount Gambier Library, The Haven is run by the Women’s Information Service and provides support and information for at risk women and children.

Library manager Georgina Davison said the program being recognised at a state level was a great recognition of the work that was being done at the service.

“So this is a local government award for our contribution to support the implementation and activities that The Haven are conducting,” she said.

“It is an opportunity to highlight all the great work they are doing out of the library, which is such a great place for so many people.”

She said the high commendation showed council was living and breathing its regional public health plan in supporting community members going through domestic violence.

“For us it is linking the regional public health plan and how we’re delivering that by acting on the issues that we have identified,” she said.

Mayor Lynette Martin accepted the award from SA Health chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier and said it was a great accolade for council and The Haven.

“It is a great achievement for our city and certainly puts Mount Gambier on the stage as being very proactive in what we do in our community,” she said.

“Unfortunately there is a great need [for The Haven] and anything we can do to assist the community is important.”

While not funding the hub, Ms Davison said the library supported The Haven in a number of ways.

“We provide the space at the library, so that is permanently there, we supported them in setting that up- getting some frosting on the outside so people can’t see in- that kind of thing,” she said.

“We also support them with providing materials for activities when they need it, any kind of administration stuff, like photocopying or printing.

“We have also developed marketing and promotional material, and support them by displaying it and sharing it with everybody.”

She said The Haven had proven successful and together they had built a great partnership.

“They have built it up, they have coffee and chat, craft groups, they get guest speakers in… just to support everybody and make everybody feel comfortable coming in and making new connections,” she said.

“I think it works really well where it is, if somebody wanted to get some help, but didn’t want to be seen obviously asking for help they can come into the library and go in there without anyone else knowing.”

For anyone who might need support from The Haven Ms Davison said they were able to just walk in without fear of judgement.

“They are open from 10am to 2pm, if they’re not here there’s a sign they put on their door that has the crisis numbers,” she said.

“I think it is fantastic the work they are doing, how they are supporting the community and how they are actively trying to engage with the community as well.”

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