MARTIME workers together with their construction labourer comrades say they have raised more than $10,000 to support the Hunter Women’s Centre during the Christmas period.

Representatives of both the Maritime Union of Australia Division Newcastle Branch and NSW Construction Division of the newly-merged Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union will this week deliver 40 immediate care packs aimed at helping women and children fleeing family violence during the holiday period.

There also will be a cash donation to assist with ongoing support programs.

The fundraising initiative to support the work of the Hunter Women’s Centre was started by the MUA Newcastle Youth Committee.

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Youth Committee member and fundraiser organiser Steven Murray said for too many families, Christmas was a time of violence and abuse.

“This is actually a really busy time for vital support services like the Hunter Women’s Centre, which is why we wanted to get behind them and offer practical assistance to help them help local families in need,” Mr Murray said.

“Rather than just donate money, we have worked with the HWC to develop these immediate care packs that contain a whole range of essential everyday items that women and children need when they have just fled from domestic violence.”

MUA Newcastle Branch Secretary Glen Williams said the fundraising initiative was an example of the role of unions.

“Unions are about working people sticking together to care for each other through tough times and strengthen our future by working together,” Mr Williams said.

“I’m really proud of our members — particularly the Newcastle Youth Committee — for spearheading this effort to help local women and children facing the scourge of family violence.”

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