Free bra event brings message of self-worth

Support The Girls' specially-trained bra fitters Alison Mead and Roz Bentley at work in Eidsvold. Picture: Julian Lehnert 231785_01

A Gold Coast-based charity organisation has made the long trek to the North Burnett this week to provide professional bra fitting services and free underwear to the region’s women.

Support The Girls Australia, a not-for-profit which was launched in March 2016, offers its free fitting services across Queensland and New South Wales to combat what CEO Jane Holmes said is a serious issue for many women.

“80 per cent of women are wearing the wrong size bra – the health implications for that are astronomical,” she said.

Research by British and US-American biomechanics scholars showed that the wrong bra size can cause breast skin damage – commonly seen as stretch marks – neck-, back- and shoulder pain and even skin abrasions.

Women who attend will have their measurements taken by specially-trained bra fitters and are then presented with several bras to try on -the ones that fit the best they may then take home, free of charge.

“For women that are plus-sized, the entry point for bras can be up to $80,” Ms Holmes explained.

“A lot of people can’t afford that.”

To allow women and girls to access the crucial help they need, Support The Girls brings several thousand bras of all styles, colours and sizes to its events, all of which have been donated by the public in new or near-new conditions.

Ms Holmes explained that all underwear undergoes rigorous checks before being offered to the public, with 65 per cent of her organisation’s stock being brand new.

The group, which now consists of over half a dozen members, was welcomed with open arms in the North Burnett, having already visited the region once before in late last year.

“We did Monto and Mundubbera in October last year, and the demand was just huge,” CEO Jane Holmes said.

“People immediately asked if we can please come back soon,” she added.

Ms Holmes and her team of volunteers, many of which have undergone special bra-fitting training, have just completed their stints in Monto, Eidsvold and Mundubbera with Gayndah being next in line.

They managed to professionally fit 40 women and school girls in Eidsvold, 60 women in Monto and 50 more in Mundubbera today as part of their rural tour through the Burnett.

They will then focus their efforts on the Cherbourg community at the end of March before reportedly tackling the Wide Bay community in October.

Support The Girls also offers women and girls – and anyone who identifies as such – educational material on female hygiene and underwear as part of the organisation’s outreach efforts in an attempt to improve the ever-present stigma around mental health and “taboo topics” such as hygiene.

“It’s about having those conversations – ‘how are you?’ – planting the seed that yes, you do have self-worth,” Ms Holmes said.

“It’s a privilege to be able to support women like this.”