RizeUp Australia has today launched its annual Christmas Appeal, aiming to collect donations of 15,000 gifts to distribute to families impacted by domestic and family violence.

Now in its seventh year, the Christmas Appeal campaign has received support from a vast range of charity partners, including the Gold Coast SUNS.

Gold Coast SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans said he was proud to have RizeUp as the club’s official charity partner and encouraged the community to give generously during the Appeal.

“At the Gold Coast SUNS we want to be more than just a football club, we’re striving to have a meaningful impact in the community,” Evans said.

“RizeUp do amazing work to help families in need and we have been honoured to play a role in supporting the organisation since 2015.

“The 2020 Christmas Appeal was hugely successful and we’re motivated to continue to drive the goodwill of our community to ensure the 2021 Christmas Appeal has an even greater impact.”

RizeUp Australia CEO Nicolle Edwards said the Christmas Appeal provided hope and empowerment for affected families over the holiday period.

“Although for most of us Christmas and the summer holidays are synonymous with happy times, it can be a very difficult time for many young people and their parents who are affected by domestic and family violence,” Edwards said.

“Frontline services managing domestic violence related calls over the Christmas period have previously reported spikes of 20-40%.

“Now with Covid-19 already exacerbating the danger for vulnerable families, Christmas is set to receive an additional layer of risk for families suffering at the hands of violent perpetrators.

“We are anticipating that services will be further inundated with demand for support for families who are displaced and isolated from their friends and families.

“As a result, we are preparing for a bigger than ever gift appeal. 

“Support from the corporate community in 2020’s Christmas Appeal assisted RizeUp to distribute 12,300 gifts and we need the 2021 Appeal to be even bigger.”

The launch was supported by the Hon Shannon Fentiman MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.

Minister Fentiman said “since the pandemic we have seen the number of women and families seeking support to escape violence grow.

“RizeUp do incredible work supporting these families to rebuild their lives.

“Now more than ever we need Queenslanders to get behind this fantastic appeal and give a gift to a vulnerable family this Christmas.”

Gifts are to be donated unwrapped to identified collection points, with a list of suggested gift ideas to be found on the RizeUp Australia website.