MEETING THE BOSS: The sixth bishop of Lismore, father Gregory Homeming, is about to go to Rome to meet Pope Francis.
MEETING THE BOSS: The sixth bishop of Lismore, father Gregory Homeming, is about to go to Rome to meet Pope Francis. Marc Stapelberg

Bishop supports the work of Heartfelt House

AN ORGANISATION offering support to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse on the Northern Rivers has received financial support from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lismore.

Lismore Catholic Bishop Gregory Homeming, who will be on his way to The Vatican to meet with Pope Francis next week, confirmed he has authorised financial contributions from the diocese to Heartfelt House for the past two years.

Bishop Homeming declined mentioning the amount, but said the idea is to ensure all victims of sexual abuse are benefited by the actions of the church.

"In this diocese I see that on one level, justice demands that the church attends to all of its failings, but on another level, there is a social issue here, because if the church attends to injustice in all of its failings, we are looking at 4 per cent or 5 per cent of the population, so what about all the others?" he said.

"This is a hidden social evil and the gospel makes a demand from us. That's the point that I make (in a written report to The Vatican about the issues faced by the local community). Hopefully we can help all the people."

Heartfelt House CEO Kate Loubet confirmed the Catholic Diocese of Lismore's contribution to the work done by the not-for-profit but highlighted the need for more support for victims from the broader community.

"We are always looking for financial support, and the Bishop's contributions have been very helpful, but I must say that the funding that we currently receive is not sufficient to cover the costs of providing services at Heartfelt House, even at a basic level," she said.

"Currently, the demand is never met, because there is just so many survivors that are looking for group therapy programs to help them on their recovery."

EXECUTIVE: Heartfelt House CEO Kate Loubet.
EXECUTIVE: Heartfelt House CEO Kate Loubet. Graham Broadhead

Ms Loubet said the organisation will soon be launching a fundraising campaign called 100 Hearts, looking for 100 corporate sponsors to help support their work.

"We want to have a support system that is ongoing and sufficient for their needs, so that means being able to offer three or four therapeutic group programs per year, as oppose to just two, being able to recruit professional staff with the right qualifications, plus some very basic operations costs," she said.

Ms Loubet said Heartfelt House remains impartial and not affiliated with any political or religious institutions.

Heartfelt House is located at 301 Lismore Road, Wollongbar, and donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.