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Woven Earth - the charity helping survivors of domestic abuse

Charity Woven Earth helps people restart their lives after escaping domestic violence – providing furnishings and toys for families, turning their new houses into homes. Woven Earth recently received a $9500 grant from the ANZ Staff Foundation.

Leaving an abusive relationship is hard, and can often seem almost impossible.


The fear of losing your home and possessions and uprooting your children’s lives is one barrier that prevents people from leaving.


“It is one thing to leave, but then a nightmare of another kind begins - the reality of starting again with nothing” says Woven Earth founder Kerryn Thrupp.


Kerryn knows this first-hand, after experiencing family violence in Australia.


“When we left we were physically safe, but that was it.”


“I was lucky enough to have the help of my Mum and some good friends, but not everyone does.”


Her experiences inspired Kerryn to found Woven Earth. The charity provides furnishings and household goods - everything from food to furniture, cooking utensils and toys. The idea is to turn dwellings into real homes.


They receive referrals from partner agencies (Women’s Refuge, Victim Support, Police, and others) and then work to fill an empty house with everything the family needs to start again.


“Having no possessions and no home can have a negative impact on mental health and can drive people back into abusive relationships. The task to rebuild a life is overwhelming and the layers of hardship that follow can be unrelenting.”


“Having no possessions and no home can have a negative impact on mental health and can drive people back into abusive relationships. The task to rebuild a life is overwhelming and the layers of hardship that follow can be unrelenting." - Kerryn Thrupp, Woven Earth.


Woven Earth works wherever needed across the Auckland region, from Warkworth to Pukekohe.


It’s a service that’s been welcomed by the families they’ve helped.


“I’ve been sleeping on the ground for most of the year, so having a bed is a luxury for me,” says one woman recently helped by the charity.


“At a time when I felt at my lowest, I felt I had someone out there care enough and help me when I most needed it.”

Kerryn Thrupp, Woven Earth founder.


A time of need


Unfortunately, demand for the charity’s help has only grown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.


“Covid-19 places immense pressure on families and sadly family violence has exploded through Covid. We have never been busier.”


Between the end of September 2021 and 17 December the charity furnished 64 homes.


“Families are under such immense financial strain that when we ask what possessions they have the answer is always nothing.”


The charity collects excellent condition donated goods, stores them, and then transports and sets them up for the families on the day they move into their new home.


Dignity and respect


“Dignity underpins everything we do at Woven Earth,” says Kerryn.


That’s why they believe it is important the donated items are in new, near new or excellent condition.


“Too often people think that anything will do, or that people who need help should be grateful for anything. But when we give help it’s unique to that person or family. We want them to feel valued and respected.”


Woven Earth tailors the donated items to the needs of each family.


“We care about every person in the family - their likes, hobbies, interests, favourite colours and needs. We ask them what have they lost or what would help them set up a new life. It is asking these questions that makes our service truly unique.”


“We are all about helping to create a home that is tailored to each family and meets their individual needs,” says Kerryn.


Children’s Fund


The charity has also established a children’s fund that helps pay for extra-curricular activities - buying new scooters, bikes, sports equipment, school supplies, or other items that children in the family may need.


“Just the other day we brought a brand new sewing machine for a teenage girl who is passionate about fashion and makes her own clothes.


"The sewing machine, the sewing desk and chair and some vouchers for her were intended to support her passion and make her feel special. Taking care of children’s  interests is a key part of their healing and has a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.”


Sustainable tour operators Bush and Beach converted some of their vans so they could be used to transport the goods to families.


The ANZ Staff Foundation’s donation of $9,500 will assist with the transportation costs.


“We were delighted to be able to help Woven Earth” says David Bricklebank, the Chair of the ANZ Staff Foundation Advisory Board. “The work they are doing is making a really positive change to the lives of many victims of family violence.”


The funding will help Woven Earth to set up the homes of 21 families.


"We never transfer any cost onto the families, so we rely on donations to help us deliver our service,” says Kerryn.


“The words Woven Earth have significant meaning for me. They are the weaving of good people, kindness, community and love that all help make it possible for people to stand up and be part of the world again."


“If I can make a small difference, for people to place value on themselves, and give them some hope that they can make a new start and begin again, like I did, this is what continues to drive me forward,” says Kerryn.


You can read more about Woven Earth here and find information about becoming a regular donor at 1000 Hands to help Woven Earth furnish homes and lives across Auckland.


Since inception in 2000, the ANZ New Zealand Staff Foundation has distributed over $8 million in community grants to more than 920 charities and community projects nationwide.



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