It's the end of an era for women's social enterprise 'The Eve Project', which will be closing its doors in the Illawarra this year.
The not-for-profit launched in 2019 as a program to support women who have experienced trauma and abuse, with their Bulli kitchen space designed to provide work experience for female survivors.
The women behind the initiative said the effects of COVID and staffing decisions has meant the Eve Project could not survive in its current form.
Sutherland Shire-based organisation Hopefield will absorb elements of the project, but the project's permanent kitchen in Bulli will be closing up shop.
After launching in 2019, co-founder Helen Dwyer said they had no idea of the pandemic that was about to send the world into a tail-spin.
"Who was to know what was ahead of us?" Ms Dwyer said.
"We haven't been able to run a full program yet without being heavily impacted by COVID."
The Eve Project's other co-founder Lisa Brooke also decided to step away from the project to explore other opportunities.
The project operates their hospitality arm, Eve and Co, out of a kitchen space in Bulli, and while other elements of the Eve Project will continue in the Sutherland Shire, Eve and Co will no longer run.
"It's been a really tough process we've gone through and It's not how we envisaged things panning out," Ms Dwyer said.
For Ms Dwyer, the changes aren't a goodbye, and she is committed to supporting the women involved in the Eve Project.
She said the decision to partner with Hopefield should not be seen as abandoning the Illawarra, but instead giving the program its best chance at survival.
"The support group will still run until the end of the year, and I've made sure the women know if they want to stay connected, we can," she said.
"That was very important to me, that they know it's not a goodbye."
Ms Dwyer said the Eve Project team was grateful for the support of the community over the past three year years.
"This isn't a failure," Ms Dwyer said.
"There are many women's lives that have been changed in the last three years, and whilst it's not rolling out the way we dreamed, it's a way forward and that's great," she said.
She said despite the changes, she's proud of what the program has achieved.
"There are quite a few women who have said it's saved their lives."
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