Grace’s Place gets $50,000 grant

PLACE FOR HEALING: Gary Raymond, Anita Cobby's sister Kathryn Szyszka, Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald, Acting Inspector Andre Nagy, Blacktown Rotary president Russell Ashley and Workers Club Group president Kay Kelly. Picture: Geoff Jones
PLACE FOR HEALING: Gary Raymond, Anita Cobby's sister Kathryn Szyszka, Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald, Acting Inspector Andre Nagy, Blacktown Rotary president Russell Ashley and Workers Club Group president Kay Kelly. Picture: Geoff Jones

Grace’s Place is a step closer thanks to a $50,000 grant from the state government.

The Homicide Victims’ Support Group facility is planned to be built in Blacktown for young people and families affected by the murder of a loved one.

It is named in honour of Grace Lynch, the mother of Prospect murder victim Anita Cobby.

Mrs Lynch and her husband Garry founded the support group in 1993 with Christine and Peter Simpson, the parents of nine-year-old murder victim Ebony Simpson.

Though Mr and Mrs Grace have both passed away, work on their legacy continues through advocates including Gary Raymond, a retired detective who investigated the infamous Cobby case.

In announcing the funding boost, Corrections Minister David Elliott commended the support group on its work offering counselling and advice to families, as well as educating the community and government about the needs of homicide-affected families.

“It is vital loved ones can have the support they need when dealing with a family member or close friend who is the victim of homicide,” Mr Elliott said.

“It may offer some respite for children and other young people trying to make sense of an inexplicable loss. This centre will be there to support them.”

Mr Elliot also paid tribute to the “incredible strength” of Mrs Lynch.

Homicide Victims’ Support Group executive director Martha Jabour said the centre would run a specific program created for children and their carers.

“Grace’s Place will be a centre where children who are suffering the loss of someone they love to homicide can learn to once again trust in themselves and others,” she said.

The state government’s latest contribution matches the $50,000 given last year under former premier Mike Baird.

Blacktown Workers Club also made a $75,000 donation at this year’s annual fundraiser.

Fundraising continues for the Australian-first site. To donate, go to hvsg.com.au.