Project Elizabeth, an innovative program by CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, supports young women and families finding themselves pregnant and unsure what to do. It has now been recognised for its leadership in pregnancy support.
Last week, Project Elizabeth won the Leadership in Pregnancy Support Award in the 2020 Pregnancy Support Awards.
The Award was announced by the Hon Greg Donnelly MP, at a virtual ceremony held on Wednesday 25 November 2020. The Awards have been held for the past five years and celebrate services for women and families facing unplanned pregnancies, providing them with choices for their future they may not have otherwise felt they had.
“The award recognises the strong leadership shown by Project Elizabeth in provision of pregnancy support services for women and families in need,” said Executive Director of CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, Peter Loughnane.
“It also recognises their work in both advocating the need of such services along with initiating or supporting practical assistance programs.”
He called out Project Elizabeth team members Linda Davis, Senior Manager, Families, Counselling and Wellbeing and Natalie Jacobi, Project Elizabeth and Family Support Caseworker for the outstanding achievement.
Linda, in accepting the award, acknowledged previous team member Jeanette Reid, who retired in 2019 and who, she added, “Worked tirelessly for the community through Project Elizabeth.”
She also mentioned their clients, and how hard it had been for some, particularly new mothers during the COVID lockdowns. “We ended up setting up deckchairs on their lawns sometimes,” she said referring to how the Project Elizabeth team continued to stay in touch and support their clients. “It was very hard for them without help.”
Project Elizabeth supported around 30 clients last year, possible through funding by the Diocese of Parramatta.
“There’s nothing like it in the Penrith area we service,” said Linda. “We not only help mothers who may be struggling with pregnancy or children, but we can provide counselling and support to women who want to continue with their pregnancy, but might be finding they lack the knowledge or support they need.”
New dad Dale, a client of Project Elizabeth, is grateful for the service they provided to him and his partner, Sharen, and their young family.
“The people at CatholicCare are just beautiful. I’ve never met people like these before,” he said. Referring to the recent birth of his young son, and the stability the family now feels he said “Sharen and I could not have done it without the support of CatholicCare.”
The Diocese of Parramatta’s Bishop’s Christmas Appeal is raising funds to continue the good work of Project Elizabeth which counsels women and families around pregnancy, losing a baby or young children 0-3 years.
To find out more about Project Elizabeth, go to ccss.org.au.