Essex Community Foundation

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Our community cares for young people impacted by domestic abuse

12th June 2020

The East of England Co-op is donating £45,000 to support the creation of safe environments and provide mental health support for children and young people impacted by domestic abuse in our region. 

  • This is the second large scale donation to be made from the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund, created to support local good causes adapt, enhance and continue to provide much needed services in new and innovative ways.
  • Funds will be distributed by the Suffolk Community Foundation, in partnership with Essex and Norfolk Community Foundations, to local refuges and organisations supporting young people impacted by domestic abuse and violence.
  • Supporting young people was one of four causes voted for by East of England Co-op members, alongside supporting older people, reducing food poverty and tackling food waste.
  • East of England Co-op members can continue to donate to the Community Cares Fund, by donating some or all of their dividend. Details can be found at www.eastofengland.coop/communitycares

Domestic abuse has sadly always been an issue, however the need to remain at home during lockdown has made, and continues to make, life even harder for those living with an abusive partner, family member or carer.

A survey carried out by Women’s Aid in April 2020, confirmed that social distancing measures had already impacted those experiencing domestic abuse. Of those who responded:

  • 67.4% said abuse has got worse since the coronavirus crisis started
  • 76.1% said that they were having to spend more time with their abuser
  • There had also been an increase in post-separation abuse.

Many of those who seek support from organisations like Women’s Aid have children, who can often feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless or confused as a result of their experiences of domestic abuse.

Women’s Aid’s The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Annual Audit, found that:

  • Of women in refuge services 64.1% had children
  • Of women in community-based services 58.1% had children.

Essex Community Foundation CEO Caroline Taylor said: “We are delighted to work with East of England Co-op again to help them get funding to where it is needed most in Essex and to address the effects of domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on families, and we know that cases in Essex will rise as the pandemic restrictions are eased, and victims of abuse seek support. It is vital that local charities tackling these issues have access to the funding they need.

“As well as providing a safe haven and support to those in need, organisations also offer mental health support and counselling for children and young people who have been affected, to help them deal with the trauma.”

The East of England Co-op have spoken with a number of refuges and organisations in Essex to understand the pressures they are currently facing and what support they need to continue to help children and young people impacted by domestic abuse.

Next Chapter provide services across Colchester, Tendring and beyond, to those who are currently experiencing or have previously experienced domestic abuse. They are one of six refuges in the region to each receive a £4,600 donation from the East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund, with the remaining funds to be distributed between other local organisations and support services.

Next Chapter CEO, Beverley Jones said: “We see the impact that domestic abuse has already had on the children and young people who are currently living in our refuges and whilst they are now in a safe environment – the effects of their experiences continue to have a deep and long-lasting impact on their emotional wellbeing and development. 

“The funds from East of England Co-op Community Cares Fund will enable us to purchase vital equipment, toys and resources to help us work with children and young people who are distressed, unable to cope with how they are feeling, and finding difficulties in connecting emotionally with their friends & family. We are enormously grateful for the continued support of our community and particularly from these funds, which help us focus our help and support for the children and young people who at their most vulnerable.”
Niall O’Keeffe, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “We are proud to be working with the Community Foundations across our region to deliver a new grants programme to support children impacted by domestic abuse.

“I would like to thank all of our members who have generously donated all or part of their dividend to the Co-op Community Cares Fund. It is thanks to them that we are able to provide this support and make a positive impact on young lives in our communities.”

Those in need of support or guidance can visit www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support or call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.