Rosie Batty Confirmed As Special Guest For Friends With Dignity Christmas Gala Charity Ball

November 12, 2018

Australian Charity of the Year 2018, the Queensland-based Friends With Dignity, established just over three years ago to help people displaced by domestic violence, will hold a giant fundraising celebration ball this Saturday, November 17 at the Gold Coast.

Friends With Dignity Director and Chief Operations Officer, Zoe Scharenguivel said the national not-for-profit organisation had been excited to be recognised as the Australian Charity of the Year 2018 earlier this year.

“As a result, we would love all Friends With Dignity supporters, volunteers and sponsors to celebrate with us at “A Magical Christmas Gala Charity Ball” at the Southport Sharks Event Centre,” she said.

Australian domestic violence campaigner and 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, named as an official Ambassador for Friends With Dignity in September, will be a special guest at the Gala ball.

“My goal is to help raise awareness and draw attention to the valuable work Friends With Dignity is doing to help support victims at the lowest points of their lives,” said Ms Batty.

“I’ve always looked at ways to help with fundraising across Australia for those who are assisting victims in crisis.

“I aim to give my direct support in whatever way that I can to help Friends With Dignity to achieve their goals, which includes expanding their services to different states of Australia.”

Now in its sixth year, The Australian Charity Awards were established to identify, recognise and reward organisations for the exceptional work undertaken through their charitable activities.

The awards are a partner program of The Australian Business Awards.

Friends With Dignity Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Manuela Whitford, who herself was attacked and lived in fear for a number of years before coming to live in Australia from South Africa, said that being awarded the 2018 Australian Charity of the Year  was an “incredible honour”.

“This amazing achievement not only highlights the dedication and drive of volunteers wanting to make a difference to the lives of people affected by domestic and family violence, but how this epidemic affects society as a whole,” said Manuela.

She said Friends With Dignity volunteers worked with registered referral agencies to turn houses into welcoming sanctuaries for people escaping domestic violence.

“Together we give people the dignity of a home to call their own,” said Manuela, adding that Friends with Dignity could only operate ”with the support of our friends”.

“The practical support offered by the local community ensuring that families have no reason to return to a life of abuse and violence is equally overwhelming and humbling.

“Our service is built from a mutual passion and determination to make a difference to families we will never meet. It’s about doing what we can within our capacity to support our neighbours and community.

“Having been described as a “ground breaking” service, it’s reassuring to know that Friends With Dignity identified a gap, and by engaging the local community we have managed to assist thousands of men, women and children to date through our programs,” said Manuela.

Donations go directly to supporting survivors of domestic violence to rebuild their lives and reclaim their dignity.

“We accept gift cards, cash, household and personal care items, and we issue appeals for specific items”, said Manuela. Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.

For more information about Friends With Dignity, please visit:

To purchase tickets to the Friends With Dignity “A Magical Christmas Gala Charity Ball”, please visit:

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