A lifeline for women in need: The 2024-2026 Handy Guides are here

Feb 14, 2024

The Lady Musgrave Trust has proudly launched the latest editions of The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services, a comprehensive information and service directory for Queensland women in need.

Orders are now open for the Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and Redlands Coast edition of The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services for 2024-2026, with the Regional Queensland edition set to follow in March 2024.

Since 1885, The Lady Musgrave Trust has been helping young Queensland women to transform their lives. As well as providing safe and supportive housing for these women, The Trust works to solve the problems that lead to homelessness in the first place, including domestic and family violence.

The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services, a user-friendly information and service directory for women at risk, is key to The Trust’s preventative approach to women experiencing homelessness.

Since its debut 12 years ago, The Handy Guide – available in both hard copy and online formats, with separate editions for Brisbane and surrounds, and Regional Queensland – has become a vital resource. Over 230,000 free copies have been distributed to women in need, governments, and both private and not-for-profit organisations across Queensland.

Victoria Parker, CEO of The Lady Musgrave Trust, says The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services has become so highly regarded within the sector that it is often referred to as ‘the community services bible’ by The Trust’s partner organisations.

The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services is a lifeline for women in need,” Victoria says. “Beyond aiding women directly, these Guides are also used by organisations that support women – community centres, legal services, homelessness and housing services, hospitals, correctional facilities – as well as family and friends who are concerned for a woman in their life.

“We love that we can do something that supports and enhances the work of those on the front line, and we’re on a mission to increase awareness of both the online and hard copy editions, to ensure that when someone needs information, they can get it.”

What users can expect in the 2024-2026 Handy Guide

The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services provides details for a range of vital services for women, including:

  • Accommodation providers, including emergency accommodation, short and long-term accommodation units and housing services
  • Food and welfare services, including food vans, kitchens, laundries, showers and Centrelink
  • Support centres, including Drop-in Centres, Community Centres, and Assessment and Referral Services
  • General information enabling referral to appropriate health services
  • Legal assistance for domestic and family violence, tenancy/housing problems, and victims of crime
  • Community and specialist services for domestic violence, family assistance, and immigration and migrant support
  • Facilities such as public libraries, free transport (exclusively in the Brisbane and surrounds edition) and toilets

The Lady Musgrave Trust has revamped the 2024-2026 editions of both the Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and Redlands Coast Guide and the Regional Queensland Guide, aligning them both with the evolving needs of women who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and domestic and family violence.

Notable changes in the latest versions include:

  • Sorting the food/welfare and emergency relief section by suburb for easier identification
  • Increasing text size for improved readability
  • Providing information about the different types of housing and accommodation that are available
  • Implementing colour-coded sections for better navigation
  • Including referral pathways for health services
  • Recognising services by local government
  • Eliminating duplications and offering a single point of contact for organisations providing multiple services in different locations

Lisa O’Donnell, the Trust’s Operations Manager, says the changes were made as a result of consultation with users of the Guides.

“We’ve gathered feedback from users and incorporated it into an improved design and layout,” she says. “The result is an expanded and even more comprehensive directory for women in need.”

It takes a village

Acknowledging the substantial effort involved in creating The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services, The Lady Musgrave Trust expresses gratitude to the partners, community organisations and services that work directly with women in need.

“Preparing and publishing such a comprehensive directory is a time-consuming and costly project,” Lisa says. “We are so grateful to the organisations that have provided financial support, enabling the two 2024-2026 Guides to be published, assisting young women at risk around Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands Coast and Regional Queensland.”

The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services is made possible thanks to support from The Clem Jones Foundation, Morgans Foundation, Danks Trust, Cory Charitable Foundation, and Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, along with Infoxchange’s management of online data.

How to order your copy

Individuals and organisations can place orders for free copies, ranging from a single book to multiple cartons for distribution to those in need.

The hard copy editions are expected to be in high demand, so the Trust encourages responsible ordering to ensure wider accessibility.

“The Guides are only useful if people know about them and if they are used,” Victoria says.

“If you are in an organisation that supports women in need, please make them available wherever possible.

“We know that if someone has the right support, then things get better. These Guides are life-changing and life-saving.”

Orders for the Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and Redlands Coast edition of The Handy Guide of Women’s Support Services are available now, with the Regional Queensland edition following in March 2024. The hard copies of the Guide are complemented by the online edition, which is regularly updated and expanded as required.