STAFF at domestic violence and homelessness support service Carrie's Place are still in shock after receiving the biggest private donation in its history, $280,000.
Chief executive officer Jayne Clowes said the organisation survived on government funding and community support but "there's always a million things we could do with funds".
"I was blown over really, I was quite emotional when they handed me the cheque," Ms Clowes said.
"We just didn't realise or appreciate that we would get that much, it was like 'My gosh, this is a game changer for our little community organisation'."
Team members from Multiplex - which is building the new Maitland Hospital - as well as subcontractors and suppliers and client Hunter New England Health helped to raise the funds.
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Multiplex site engineer Bede Webb said the company held a fundraising initiative during every construction project.
He said senior project manager Jeff Wall suggested Carrie's Place as the beneficiary in the middle of 2019 and fundraising started in 2020.
"We had a think about what we could do for the local community, what we could reach out to and how to leave a lasting legacy," Mr Webb said.
"We like to try and leave a legacy on the place that we come and rigorously build for two years, we come and go but we want to try and leave something other than the thing that we've come here to be paid to build."
Ms Clowes said Carrie's Place was likely to use the funds to address the "desperate need for some kind of temporary accommodation in Cessnock", possibly in partnership with a community housing provider.
She said people experiencing domestic violence, homelessness or a combination of the two would stay in the accommodation for between one and three weeks, depending on circumstances and support needed. Carrie's Place case managers are on site at the temporary accommodation properties during the day.
"We do outreach at Cessnock, so we've already got a presence there, but there is still a greater need there," she said.
Mr Webb said he expected to raise about $100,000 over the past year.
"This is pie in the sky," he said.
"It just grew and grew and grew. The team is really stoked.
"It's an organisation purely there to help the community and help people in bad circumstances. It's the change we wanted to see in the community, trying to promote the fight against domestic violence. It couldn't be a more worthy organisation."
Mr Webb said fundraising events included a weekly raffle for seven VIP parking spaces; a cornhole tournament; bids to dunk bosses into a tank of water that raised more than $100,000 alone; a virtual bike race; and a major raffle.
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