You might think that the recent Coronavirus crisis would have stopped the Soroptimists from doing what we do, but not here at SI Rossendale. In fact, we’re still fundraising despite lockdown!
We’ve been hearing a lot in the news recently about how the Covid-19 crisis is going to have a disproportionately large impact on women and already this seems to be the case.
On Women’s Hour last week, in fact, they did a feature on how victims of domestic violence – the largest proportion of whom are female – are now more at risk than ever. This is thanks to a perfect storm of being stuck at home on lockdown with their perpetrator, a loss of the usual support services, and added pressures such as lost household income and homeschooling.
In short, women who were in a difficult situation before the Covid-19 crisis struck are now experiencing a whole new level of abuse, often with little way out.
At this time, the local women’s refuge is often the only port of call, and then it is often as a last resort for desperate women.
How Are Soroptimists Supporting Local Women’s Refuges?
SI Rossendale has supported our local women’s refuge for many years now and in a number of ways. Every Christmas, for example, we provide toiletry boxes for the women and toy boxes for the children. Throughout the year, we donate other essentials, such as bedding, towels and school uniform.
Last week, our President, Joan Martin, reached out to the refuge to ask how they were coping. The message back was that it was tough; the demand on their services was increasing and they were already stretched. To make matters worse, the current residents are, like the rest of us, on lockdown, hence are struggling to get to the shops and look after their children. Their supplies of basic necessities were running low.
We wanted to help, but we were also restricted by the lockdown. Normally our members would each purchase toiletries and other essentials and donate them at a meeting, to be boxed up and taken to the refuge. However, at the moment, this is just not practical; in addition to us not holding meetings, many of our members are self-isolating due to pre-existing health conditions and those that can go out are limited in what they can buy.
How Are The Soroptimists Raising Funds For The Local Women’s Refuge?
So, we decided to innovate. We teamed up with the daughter of one of our members, Samara Barnes, who runs a community project called The Red Bag Project. Rossendale Red Bag Project provides toiletries and other essentials to those in the community who need them, such as the local homeless shelter and primary and secondary schools.
Together, we set up a PayPal Pool fund, which will enable both members and non-members to donate money, which in turn will go towards buying toiletries and other essential items, such as sanitary products, for the women of the refuge.
Next week, Samara is going to purchase the required items and deliver them to Joan, so that Joan can then deliver them to the refuge. All of this will naturally be done in the safest way possible, to ensure the social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
This means that our members are able to carry on fundraising and helping vulnerable women in our community, but still maintain lockdown effectively.
So far, in just the seven days since the fund was set up, we’ve managed to raise over £250, which I’ve no doubt will go a long way in assisting the refuge. It’s been an amazing community effort and heartening to see that, even in these difficult times when everyone is struggling with a variety of issues, women are still coming together to help other women.
Help SI Rossendale Support Our Local Women’s Refuge
If you would like to find out more, then please contact SI Rossendale via our Facebook page and we’ll be happy to provide you with further information.
Alternatively, if you’d like to support the fund to help the local women’s refuge, you can still donate to the crowdfund here.