EARLIER this month, charity Impact celebrated a new program, impactFUL.
Assisting women and children fleeing extreme violence at home, Impact launched ImpactFUL six months ago, providing women victims of domestic violence an opportunity to focus on and improve their health and wellbeing at Fernwood Women’s Gym in Cheltenham.
With funding from Victorian Government initiative Pick My Project, Fernwood and local women’s refuge Emerge, the program is run by a professional gym trainer. Several police women attend and participate in each session, in order to make participants feel safe and to improve relations between family violence victims and the police.
The support network built into impactFUL also includes a social worker who coordinates the program. The program offers participants free childcare on site at each session, a nutritious lunch, camaraderie, growing friendships – and a shoulder massage at the end of each of the four five-week terms.
Kathy Kaplan, founder and president of Impact, said that apart from enhancing the fitness and wellbeing of the participants, the program has also “increased their confidence and self-esteem and facilitated their recovery from abuse. ‘Thrival’ rather than just ‘survival’ has been our key goal.”
Program social worker Genevieve Rapsey together with board member and program manager Suzie Jakobovits agreed.
“Surveys taken by the participants both before and after each session clearly indicate that the program has improved the women’s levels of relaxation, connectedness, energy and hopefulness while also reducing their stress levels: 100 per cent of the time,” they said.
For more information, visit impactforwomen.org.au.