Women’s Aid in Luton & Birmingham Homeless Outreach

Lots of top people have birthdays in July: teen wizard Harry Potter and his creator, J.K. Rowling, star of sparky empowered hits, Selena Gomez, sassy soundtrack of our youths, Jennifer Lopez, and Mr Universe himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name but a few. And we’ve just joined them! A Bloody Good Cause is officially 1 YEAR OLD!

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Happy Birthday to us!

 

It’s been a great year (you can see all our previous donation drives here), and we’ve been consistently overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity. Last time, we collected an incredible 600 (!) packets of sanitary products, so, this time round, we’ve decided we are going to split the spoils of our fourth donation drive between two organisations. We’re starting accepting donations TODAY and will be dropping off on Friday 29th July!

 

WOMEN’S AID IN LUTON

Our first stop will be Women’s Aid in Luton (WAIL). Maria Cremin, Senior Support Worker at the charity, tells us all about the important work they do at the organisation:

What kind of work does Women’s Aid in Luton do?

MC: Women’s Aid in Luton is a charity that exists to support women and children who are fleeing domestic abuse. We have five refuges [that] house up to 24 families/women at any one time. We offer an outreach service in the community that offers advice and guidance for those who may not wish to go into a refuge or are unsure of their options. This includes safety planning and completing support plans which are essential as when a person leaves an abusive relationship the risk to their safety heightens as they are more likely to be severely assaulted or killed. We have a dedicated helpline which referrals can be made for refuge space in the local area or anywhere in the UK.

Who do you help?

MC: One of our refuges supports single women fleeing domestic abuse who have complex needs like substance misuse and/or mental health issues. This project was initially funded for one year which ends in August 2016. We also have a specialist Asian refuge that supports clients who may not have English as a first language and who may have cultural needs. There is a children’s worker that works with the children doing many activities including one to one sessions with them, as often the children are the forgotten victims of domestic abuse, and we hope to support both mum and the children on their journey to recovery in the hope that they will go on to live a life free from abuse.

What kind of issues do the women you work with face?

MC: Although there are refuges all over the UK for clients who are experiencing domestic abuse, there are not many refuges who accept clients who are on a methadone script or who have alcohol issues and often mental health issues as well. These clients are often deemed as being too high risk. This client group we specialise in working with are the most difficult to house due to the nature of their ongoing issues but nevertheless have [some of the greatest] needs in society.  The staff have developed excellent working relationships with local agencies to ensure there are pathways for our clients to be referred into.

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Our first campaign was driven by the desire to provide sanitary products to a homeless shelter, because the government currently doesn’t provide funding for this, despite offering allowances for condoms and razors. Do you receive any local or national funding in this capacity?

MC: Women’s Aid in Luton is funded by the local authority (Luton Borough Council). Due to government cutback, our funding for the last financial year was cut and we are expecting our funding to be further cut this financial year. In order for Women’s Aid in Luton to continue its good and valuable work we will need to secure funding. We have women and children who come into refuge with only the clothes they are wearing and some who have not given a thought to thinks like toiletries and sanitary products, so we rely on the generosity and good will of donations from individuals, businesses and churches in the local area.

 Do you find that a stigma exists in relation to discussing periods? How do you think it might be combated?

MC: I personally do not find it difficult to talk about the need for sanitary products and on one occasion whilst visiting a client who was in hospital from our refuge provision, I brought her a gift bag with toiletries in it. This client mentioned that there were sanitary towels in there [and she] proceeded to tell me that her husband of 20 years did not allow her to buy any sanitary products and told her to use toilet roll instead, which she did, and even at that time, [when] she had been away fromthe abusive relationship for 5 months, she was finding it difficult to but sanitary towels without feeling guilty.

How do you feel that our campaign could benefit Women’s Aid in Luton?

I really think [A Bloody Good Cause’s] campaign would be beneficial to our organisation as sanitary products are always needed by the many women we see in our refuge and in the community.

A big thank you to Maria for taking the time to tell us so much about Women’s Aid in Luton!



 

BIRMINGHAM HOMELESS OUTREACH

From Luton, we’ll be heading up the M1 to England’s second largest city, to visit Birmingham Homeless Outreach, a volunteer-led organisation set up to raise awareness of homelessness, an awareness they believe is “practically non-existent” across the UK. Whilst long-term solutions are ideal, short term solutions and support are of a huge daily importance to people on the streets. BHO distributes food, clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags to homeless people in the city centre.

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WAYS TO DONATE:

Send us a Facebook message or an email to abloodygoodcause@hotmail.com to find out our drop-off/mailing address for donations.

Alternatively, you can select products to donate from our Amazon Wishlist and they’ll be delivered straight to our door at the click of a button!

 

Thanks for reading!

~ Sophie & Sanya

 

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