TCF help for shelter

A local crisis accommodation service is pioneering the use of trauma-informed design in the state, thanks to a $180,000 grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund (TCF).

The Hobart Women’s Shelter (HWS) will use trauma-informed design to improve the health, social and wellbeing outcomes of women and children who have experienced significant trauma.

Trauma-informed design recognises how the physical environment can affect someone’s mood, attitude, behaviour, dignity and sense of identity. Environments like hospitals and police stations tend to be clinical, with stark white walls and artificial lights which do not support a person in a heightened state to feel safe.

The Hobart Women’s Shelter will use the TCF funding to embed trauma- informed design into the shelter’s therapeutic programs room, recreation room and outdoor and playground areas, guided by principles such as improved privacy, physical comfort, flexibility, sustainability and creating a sense of home.

“This is such a unique opportunity to be pioneering the importance of design for those who are working with, and those who have experienced trauma,” HWS Strategic Partnerships Manager Ruby Finlen said.

“We want to create spaces that promote safety, wellbeing and healing for those in a crisis state.”

Ms Finlen said the demand for emergency accommodation services had skyrocketed in recent years.

“Last financial year 1182 individual women and children reached out to us seeking assistance and we had to turn away 943,” she said.

“The funding will really help to make our spaces more functional, feel brighter, safer, and help create a sense of home for the micro-community of women and children we support during a time of stabilisation.

“The quality of space matters enormously for those experiencing trauma and this funding has the opportunity to transform the provision of crisis accommodation in the sector.”

Work on the project is expected to be complete by December 2024.

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