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New home for Dids



POLITICIANS rallied to launch the new Dads in Distress Men's Survival Centre which, after five years of operating out of founder Tony Miller's lounge room, has got a new government-funded home on Duke Street.

Dads in Distress offers support for men going through the trauma of relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, often offering suicide intervention.

Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said it was an honour to be involved in something really worthwhile.

"This is a very important community facility. The interests of men are often put to one side, so it's great to see this centre opening," he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs Sussan Ley acknowledged that the system had not been as good as it could be but that she wanted to see major changes to make it fairer.

"It's thanks to people like Tony and all those unsung heroes here there and everywhere, taking phone calls in the middle of the night and saving people's lives," she said.

"It must take an enormous toll on you and the volunteers, so thank you so much for what you do."

Mr Miller said it had been a long hard road for the service.

"I'm very emotional because it's been such a struggle," he said.

"This moment is also about the volunteers who take calls at all times of the day and night. We couldn't do this without those guys."

Mr Miller said that at every Dids meeting a chair is left empty as a reminder of those who didn't make it to the meeting.

"We also have a moment of silence to think about all the males who suicide in this country and the families left behind," he said.

Mayor Keith Rhoades also praised the service, saying it was a pleasure to launch an initiative begun in Coffs Harbour and would be a valuable resource around the country.

"Congratulations Tony, for what you have already achieved and what will be achieved in the future," he said.

For more information visit www.dadsindistress.asn.au. Clients can access the service by calling 1300 853 437, potential volunteers can call 6652 8113.



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