By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A unique fundraiser for a vital Dandenong service will raise a toast to the nation’s acclaimed comedians in lounge rooms across Australia.
Wellsprings for Women is staging Cocktails for a Cause – a virtual event with its patron Jo Stanley, comedians Wil Anderson and ‘Lehmo’ and stage-and-screen actor Lucy Durack.
The cast also includes stellar local comedians and performers Urvi Majumdar, Diana Nguyen, Aseel Tayah and Kirsty Webeck.
Ms Stanley, the event’s host, said the talented cast were only too willing to help “this beautiful event”.
The audience at home are invited to grab a cocktail or drink of choice, sit back and enjoy the comedy, music, stories as well as insight into the “amazing” programs and women at Wellsprings.
Ms Stanley said she’d look for innovative ways to connect and exchange messages with the live audience.
“I’m used to being in a room with an audience. It’s good to be able to learn to engage in a new way.”
The event, which includes a silent auction, will raise funds for Wellsprings’ social enterprise Cultural Cuisines.
In the past two years, the program has helped 20 women of culturally diverse backgrounds harness their cooking skills.
Through the program, participants gain confidence, connection and commerce know-how.
They are also forming a viable social enterprise, which spectacularly caters for mass events at Wellsprings and other parties.
“We’re looking for ways for women to have an income, to turn their skills into a profession.
“We think what a difference it would make to their lives, by bringing their skills and knowledge in cooking into the community.”
Ms Stanley says the program is an example of Wellsprings’ practicality.
Its service is vital for women overcoming isolation and loneliness such as through English language classes.
Or for those seeking protection from domestic violence.
“Many women from migratory backgrounds fall through the cracks.
“Particularly with domestic violence, they tend to be dismissed perhaps because they’re not English speakers or not understood well enough.
“There may be a perception that their culture is more violent… they’re not really heard in the same way (as other women).”
Ms Stanley says that once they reach out to Wellsprings, many go on to volunteer as helpers.
They find safety in the Wellsprings community.
“I’ve loved meeting the women and observing the love and warmth for women and children.
“It’s been so rewarding to grow a relationship with them.”
Cocktails for a Cause is on Wednesday 10 June from 6pm-7.15pm. All proceeds go to the Cultural Cuisines program.
For tickets, go to eventbrite.com.au/e/wellsprings-for-women-cocktails-for-a-cause-tickets-105745042268