Swindon Soroptimists were once again delighted to present their Christmas gift bags to the Swindon Nelson Trust Women’s Centre recently, for the 7th year running. The 25 bags are for the vulnerable women who use the Centre, many of whom face hardship and in some cases this may be the only Christmas gift they receive. The Club also donated Christmas chocolates for the hardworking, dedicated staff.
We are indebted once again to all our members, plus many friends from Ladies Who Latte, Nordic Walking and Swindon WI Book Club for buying and donating items to enable us to continue to give these Christmas gifts.
This year several members were able to get together and sort and pack the 1000 plus items received, so each box had an amazing 38 different items. The items ranged from useful things like gloves, hats, mini toiletries to treats such as costume jewellery plus three types of chocolate and Christmas crackers!
Sam at the Nelson Trust explained how grateful the women were, saying ” We had mum last year we were delivering presents to for her children for Christmas. The mother was not expecting anything for herself so was absolutely delighted when we gave her one of your boxes. These women are often forgotten by society, so fact that people like you Soroptimists make them feel seen and heard and valued and appreciated. Xmas gifts make all the difference to their Xmas. Often Christmas can be an anxiety provoking time, even a traumatic event so a care package that comes in like this showing that people are thinking of you and you are not forgotten can makes a huge difference to the women.”
The Women’s Centre, set up in 2014, provides a lifeline for women who are homeless, addicted or at risk of involvement with the criminal justice system. The service has greatly expanded recently and now has many more permanent staff, due to the recognition and funding received for the work they do.
The staff offer a wide range of services, ranging from Lunch Club, practical help, support in dealing with other agencies, to one to one counselling, group activities and peer support. The Nelson Trust’s ultimate goal is to reduce re-offending and help women to become safe, confident and free from abuse, addiction and other dependencies. They have continued to remain open and offer support throughout the pandemic.