3 September, 2020
Battling domestic violence, one red bench at a time
The Tully Lioness Club has marked the end of 41 years of service with the installation of North Queensland’s first Red Bench featuring a plaque inscribed, ‘Domestic Violence: Let’s Change The Ending’.
Located outside the Mamu Health Clinic in Tully’s Watkins Street, the symbolic Red Bench spreads a message of hope for a new ending for victims of domestic violence and is the first of three currently proposed to be installed in the Cassowary Coast.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Division Two Councillor, Teresa Millwood thanked the Tully Lioness Club for their many years of service, and congratulated them for choosing this fitting tribute as a final project for the community.
“It’s sad to see the end of our beloved Lioness Club, however I’m grateful that they’ve left us this timely tribute to support victims of domestic violence,” Cr. Millwood said.
“The Lionesses have been such a valuable organisation to the Tully community for forty-one years, and I’d like to acknowledge some of their more notable achievements including the very popular Strawberries and Cream Stand at the Tully Show.
“They were also the driving force behind the annual Tully Craft Show which used to attract around 60 stallholders every year.”
Former Tully Lioness Club President Val Buttsworth explained that the Club officially closed on 30 June, primarily due to the decision by Lions International to discontinue Lioness Clubs in their present form from June 2021.
“Tully Lionesses looked for a final project to complete and were advised of the need for a bench seat outside the Mamu Clinic where patients were often obliged to wait outside the surgery due to COVID-19 restrictions, some having to stand for long periods of time,” said Ms. Buttsworth.
“The Club approached Council to facilitate the purchase and installation of the bench and became aware of the Red Bench project which aims to raise awareness of the scourge of domestic violence which is all too prevalent in our country today.”
The bench has now been installed and the Lioness members hope it will remain as a lasting reminder of the many services performed by the Club in Tully since the its inception in April 1979.
“We sincerely hope that it will benefit the town by raising awareness of domestic violence as well as providing a much appreciated place to sit,” said Ms Buttsworth.
The Red Bench initiative was founded by domestic violence advocates ‘Red Rose Foundation’ who have partnered with councils and community groups to build permanent reminders that domestic violence occurs within all communities.
Former Tully Lioness President and Cassowary Coast Regional Councillor, Trudy Tschui is an advocate for raising awareness for victims of domestic violence and introduced the Red Bench initative to Council.
“The Prime Minister recently revealed a rising demand in domestic violence support due to the fallout from Coronavirus earlier this year, and we must never assume our own community is immune to this issue,” said Cr. Tshui who also thanked the Tully Lionesses for their many years of service to the community.
“I have many amazing memories of being a Tully Lioness including the Strawberries and Cream stall at the Tully Show, Quiz Nights and Soup Nights to name a few.
“There were lots of laughs and fun times with the ultimate goal of contributing to the community and I’m sorry to see this chapter end.”
Victims of domestic and family violence can seek help via DV Connect by calling the 24 hour helpline on 1800 811 811 or visiting www.dvconnect.org.
For further information about the Red Rose Foundation go to www.redrosefoundation.com.au.