Three Cornerstones of Empowerment

YWCA Queensland believes the best way to empower women of the future is by focusing on three cornerstones of empowerment; Safety and Wellbeing, Economic Participation and Women’s Leadership.  

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Safety & Wellbeing 

While the activities of YWCAs everywhere vary according to local needs, the YWCA has always been – and will continue to be – in the business of women’s safety: physical safety, sexual safety, choice, online safety, the safety to express opinions, needs and aspirations. 

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Economic Participation

We know that financial independence is central to women’s empowerment and wellbeing and that, conversely, financial insecurity is a key contributor to poverty, homelessness, risk of abuse and violence against women.

So this part of our work centres on ensuring women have the skills and knowledge they need to gain employment and participate in the economic, social and civic life of their communities.

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Women’s Leadership

The world is a better place where women are involved in the decision-making. At YWCA Queensland, developing and promoting women as leaders in all spheres of activity is in our DNA.

All around the world, influential women have learnt valuable leadership lessons through their involvement with the YWCA.


YWCA Queensland is committed to continual development of programs that meet the needs of women and young girls.

We work with organisations including TAFE and universities to create innovative programs that will support women throughout their careers and lives.

Why YWCA Provides Programs and Essential Services 


Y Hand Up

Supporting women leaving violent homes

Y Hand Up provides practical measures to support women to rebuild their lives after escaping from domestic and family violence (DFV) or who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. With a focus on building safer communities and reducing pressure on high-cost crisis services, Y Hand Up creates a mechanism to connect women and children in need with safe housing, appropriate support services and practical support to re-establish a sustainable life. By ultimately interrupting the cycle of victims returning to the perpetrator due to a lack of practical and social supports, the project is working to reduce long-term reliance on government support.


Y Ability 

Changing the lives of women with disability  

YWCA Queensland specialises in services for women with disability. YWCA Queensland has developed a service delivery model that allows us to maintain the intimacy of a small service, while drawing on the robust management and support systems of a larger organisation.

We work hard to develop a culture of professionalism and a passion for excellence among all Y Ability support team members. All of this is reflected in our independent HDAA accreditation as a Disability Support Provider.


Employment Programs

Tackling women’s barriers to economic participation

Evidence shows that increasing the share of household income controlled by women changes spending in ways that benefit children. When more women work, economies grow. YWCA Queensland is committed to providing skilling programs to break through the barriers for women wanting to work.  

For example, thanks to the support of the Queensland Government, our current Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program has seen 48 women with significant barriers to employment each undertake a traineeship with YWCA Queensland. 


Every Girl

Giving each girl a voice, creating the leaders of tomorrow

Every Girl is designed to assist girls aged 10 to 13 years in building their leadership skills, confidence and self-awareness through fun and empowering activities.

Over a period of 4-8 weeks the girls take part in small group sessions in the classroom, outside or within the community. The girls choose a project to work on that will enrich the lives of people in need and will also help bolster their awareness of human rights, their sense of community and leadership abilities.


Y Bloom

Guiding girls to become empowered women

A unique mentoring program for teenage girls who show potential as leaders. The program is designed for girls in Year 9 (approximately 14 years old) to build resilience and confidence through mentors who participate as positive role models and facilitators.

Developed specifically for 14-year-old girls, the program is unique, incorporating team building, leadership and empowerment exercises within the classroom, but also offers unique work place experience with strong female mentors from various industries.


Love mY Way

Educating young people about respectful, loving relationships

YWCA Queensland believes that one of the most effective ways to end domestic and family violence is through prevention. Though our Love mY Way healthy relationships program, Year 10 boys and girls are given the opportunity to explore and understand the need for respectful relationships.


Y Housing 

Providing safe and affordable homes

The YWCA has been in the business of providing Queenslanders with affordable, secure and appropriate housing solutions for more than 125 years.

We own or manage a large number of community housing properties for low-income households who are on the One Social Housing System wait-list maintained by the Queensland Department of Communities (Housing Services). Our individualised tenancy support assists people to maintain their tenancies and from that stable foundation develop their own plan to “find their possible".


Food Rescue

Helping feed local communities

YWCA Queensland and Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, OzHarvest, launched their partnership in August 2016 and the Toowoomba chapter of REAP (Rescue Excess food with A Passion) was born. The program sees volunteers collect excess food from donors like local supermarkets and bakeries and deliver it to recipients that are in need of food relief. More than 14,000 Toowoomba residents will require food relief at some point during the year, and YWCA Queensland’s Food Rescue program helps to deliver food to these residents in need.


Healthy Relationships

Be the change

In 2015, the Domestic and Family Violence Task-force report, Not Now, Not Ever, detailed domestic violence in Queensland in a way never seen before. The report challenges the reader with a blunt question, “what are you going to do about this?”

The Healthy Relationships program is a joint response to this question by YWCA Queensland and TAFE Queensland. The online program is structured to be highly engaging and provoke learners to think about their attitudes and be accountable for their own behaviour.

This program equips women and men, girls and boys to foster healthy relationships with their partners, family and the wider community. This program has been made available to TAFE Queensland students and we are now seeking to expand its availability to school groups, sporting clubs and corporate organisations.


YWCA Encore

Supporting women who have experienced breast cancer

YWCA Encore is an exercise program designed specifically for women who have experienced mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction surgery at any time in their lives. Based around floor and pool exercises, it is safe, fun and therapeutic. Encore helps participants to strengthen and tone their arms, shoulders and chest, regain mobility, and improve general fitness. We know that after surgery, many women experience numbness, pins and needles, loss of mobility, and discomfort in their upper bodies. Encore can help relieve these problems through specifically tailored after breast cancer surgery exercises.


Want to learn more about our programs? Check out our video below. 


L E A D I N G  

Trailblazers Awards

YWCA Queensland is thrilled to launch our Trailblazers Awards which recognises women's leadership in communities across Queensland. These awards will honour women who are the magic makers, the game changers and the change-makers.

Many awards focused on the achievements of women, operate around “women in” thinking, which recognises the contribution of women to speci c industries or professional outcomes. YWCA Queensland seeks to create a community of women who share our values of equality and social justice and to value women who embody the values and characteristics which we see as central to the ethos of YWCA – regardless of her professional status, industry, life and lifestyle choices or political values.

The YWCA Trailblazer Awards recognise those women who make a visible difference to the lives of others and their communities, those who see something that needs to be done and take the initiative to make positive change happen.

The Trailblazer Awards categories are as follows: 


  • Wisdom
  • Influence
  • Discovery
  • Humanity
  • Honour
  • Courage
  • Vision
  • Originality
  • Inspiration
  • Learning

L E A D I N G  
I  N N O V A T I O N

Business Blocks

Business Blocks is an educational program and awareness-raising campaign providing tools and resources to build basic business skills as well as a strong message on the importance of the development of an entrepreneurial mindset, all targeted to young women aged up to 30 years. The program is designed to encourage young women to challenge themselves in the generation of innovative ideas, create opportunities for women to set up their own businesses and enable young women to spot, assess and seize an opportunity in the business world.

Business Blocks has been conceived as a joint initiative of YWCA Queensland and the Department of Tourism, Major Events and Small Business specifically to contribute to the Office of Small Business’s Advancing Women in Business initiative. 

We are looking for mentors and participants for this unique program.

For more information about Business Blocks download the program outline below or contact us today. 

Program Outline - Toowoomba

Program Outline - Mackay

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L E A D I N G  


FreeSpace is a new forum for young women to engage in critical debate about the role of women, of modern feminism and on how to tackle issues of gender equality in their professional and personal lives.

We are looking for ten exceptional young women [between the ages of 25-35 years old], to kickstart the FreeSpace project in Queensland. We are looking for women who:

  • Are not afraid to have their voices heard

  • Who are keen to support and empower other young women

  • Will collaborate in creating and running discussion groups and events around crucial issues facing young women in their industries

  • Work together to raise the profile of the YWCA’s women’s leadership programs

  • Engage and inform their workplace, community and friends in debate and discussion

In return for your passion and support, YWCA Queensland will:

  • Assist you in developing your own Board and not-for-profit portfolio experience through participation in the ongoing development and design of FreeSpace as a leading forum for young women in Queensland and providing high-level management experience and input

  • Support you in raising your public profile in the gender equality debate through contribution to our blog and panel opportunities

  • Enable you to build networks and connections within the YWCA Queensland and with our supporters

If you would like to join this fabulous initiative or know of a woman who would be interested in joining, please contact us.

L E A D I N G  
T H R O U G H  

10 Reasons Y

YWCA Queensland has recently articulated 10 core values and purposes behind what we do. 

“I was scared and I felt so alone, then I was referred to YWCA Queensland for their Y Hand Up program. It was at a time when I started to feel too overwhelmed about the decisions I had to make and it almost felt easier to go back to my abusive partner than it was to set myself and my kids up all over again. That feeling of not being in control started to disappear with every bit of support I received through Y Hand Up. Every hurdle we faced was met with real support from YWCA Queensland.”
— Lisa, Y Hand Up

Read about Lydia's Story 


It was a traumatic physical attack from her fiancée that forced her to flee her home.

Lydia was able to save her young daughter from danger, but they were left with nothing as they were the ones who had to leave their home in fear for their lives.  

Lydia, a 48 year old Pacific Islander woman, came to YWCA Queensland after having to escape from a man who was supposed to love and protect her.  Lydia was able to save her young daughter from danger, but they were left with nothing as they were the ones who had to leave their home in fear for their lives.  

Before their worlds were turned upside down, Lydia was an independent career woman with a well-paying job, full of confidence and nothing but a bright future ahead of her. As Lydia lived a life of domestic and family violence her self-confidence diminished and fear for her daughter’s safety overwhelmed her. Lydia suffered from depression and related health issues. It was a traumatic physical attack from her fiancée that forced her to flee her home.  

Thankfully Lydia was referred to us through DV Connect and we were able to help her. We came to her aid with safe housing, clothing, white-goods and household items. Lydia and her daughter received counselling and were connected into relevant programs and services in the community.  

It was Lydia’s love for her daughter that gave her the strength to seek help in starting a new life for her daughter and herself and it was this strength that gave her the resilience to achieve the outcomes she wanted and needed. Lydia attended a ‘Bringing Up Great Kids’ program, started volunteering in her local community and eventually secured a long term lease for a home.

Lydia then successfully found a full-time job and her daughter began thriving in her new school. With safety and stability, Lydia now has the space to create new dreams for herself and she has already set a goal to save enough money to purchase a car. Lydia always had a love of art and now she continues to create artworks as a passion. 


Read about Sarah's Story 


Sarah just wanted to live a healthy happy life, independent and free to live a life she deserved.

Sarah was a young 20-year-old woman from a remote country town who was at high risk of isolation. The fact that there were very few people her age around did not help her circumstances, and while she had a large family, they were unskilled in the support that she needed. 

Sarah had a dual diagnosis, struggling with mental illness and intellectual disability. Sarah found basic living skills difficult, she battled in social situations, and she was not able to manage her personal hygiene needs. 

Sarah came from a large family, and because of the workload, the responsibility to care for her younger siblings fell on her shoulders, despite the fact that she even battled to look after herself. As a result, they were living on microwave dinners and fast food while Sarah tried her best. The situation became overwhelming for Sarah and she began running away, displaying risky behaviours and developed a drug and alcohol problem.                                 

Eventually this led to homelessness, with Sarah living on the streets. Her drug and alcohol problem exacerbated the family breakdown, which made her feel like her life was hopeless. Sarah just wanted to live a healthy happy life, independent and free to live a life she deserved. 

When we met Sarah, she was extremely vulnerable and depressed. The first thing we did was address her homelessness. Our Y Ability team worked with Y Housing to place her in a safe but temporary living situation. Our Y Ability team worked intensively with Sarah to improve her life. Her needs were assessed, and we coordinated medical check-ups, ensured she received the medication she needed that she had been unable to maintain on the streets. Sarah was set up with a full care plan with psychological and behavioural intervention and outreach support.

As her independence was very important to her, we began to coach her, equipping her with skills like money management, shopping, cooking lessons, showering and clothes washing. 

After eight months of intensive support, Sarah moved into our community-housing unit, which allowed her to reach her life goal of living independently. We have continued to support Sarah with ‘drop-in’ support; she maintains her tenancy and lives a happy, healthy lifestyle.

People with disabilities have widely varying needs, and the aim is to support the client to reach their individual personal goals. There is always room to improve the quality of their life through capacity building. At times, an early or small intervention can make a big difference to someone’s life. YWCA Queensland Y Ability works to empower people with a disability through quality, trusted and responsive support services.