One of the Shire’s newest communities has teamed with Cronulla Sharks community outreach arm, Sharks Have Heart, committing to a $200,000 donation over four years with Sutherland Shire Family Services.

The substantial support will ensure the ongoing sustainability of two key projects the Community Service offers to help young people and families in the Shire that are impacted by domestic violence.

Through the donation, Woolooware Bay Town Centre, developed jointly by Aoyuan International and Capital Bluestone, continues its three-year association with SSFS, which it says is key to supporting the community as the area grows.

“This partnership reinforces our commitment to families and young people in the Shire,” said Capital Bluestone CEO, Ben Fairfax. “We have supported this wonderful service for the last three years in varying capacities, and this additional funding confirms the value we see from this organisation to the Sutherland Shire community.”

Sharks Have Heart CEO George Nour concurs; “Through our existing relationship with Sutherland Shire Family Services, we have seen the wonderful work they do in the community and the impact it has.  In addition to supporting their Love Bites schools’ program, this next investment will have a greater impact on families experiencing trauma from the impact of domestic violence.”

This funding ensures that SSFS’ Building Resilience in Children (BRIC) Project – a specialised domestic violence intensive therapeutic program, provides a targeted service to families with young children who have been exposed to the trauma of domestic violence.

The additional commitment from Woolooware Bay Town Centre and the Sharks via the Sharks Have Heart program, will ensure the multi-pronged BRIC program can operate at least until 2022, giving Sutherland Shire Family Services the peace of mind that they can focus on families and young children impacted by domestic violence.

The BRIC Project is a child focused, early intervention program working within a trauma and attachment framework and grounded in the neurobiology of complex trauma. The program works from the knowledge that young brains can heal from early trauma.

“The project is being evaluated by the University of Wollongong, which aims to measure the outcomes of the model,” SSFS CEO Diane Manns said.

As part of sponsorship, some of the funds will also be committed to support Engadine District Youth Services (EDYS), which offers a Youth Centre drop in centre, Music Studio, Youth and Family Worker program that supports families and young people in the Shire.

 EDYS not only offers after school and school holiday activities for local teens but is also developing innovative programs that utilise technology to connect young people to their communities.

Jacqlyn Paneras from Aoyuan International reinforces the commitment was an easy one to make.

“Family and Community is at the heart of our business, and ensuring the communities we participate in, and the new neighbourhoods we create, are vibrant and healthy is a key legacy we want to leave.

“We’re thrilled to build on our existing relationship with Sharks Have Heart through Love Bites, to get them involved and supporting other services we offer local young people,” said Kim Byron, EDYS Centre Manager.

This commitment reinforces a significant local connection between Woolooware Bay Town Centre, Cronulla Sharks Rugby League Football Club and Sutherland Shire Family Services.