It has been a challenging year for domestic abuse charity Leeway, with an increased demand for services and the need to adapt methods of delivering support during the pandemic.
Like many charities, Leeway has also been unable to hold fundraising events, which is often a source of additional income used to enhance and sustain services.
Whilst the charity receives funding for many of the services it provides, some rely on the funding obtained through grants, fundraising activities and general donations.
During the pandemic though, the charity has received support from the business community enabling some of Leeway’s vital services to continue to run as they would normally do.
For instance, the donations that Leeway has received have enabled the charity to extend its Norfolk Project Safety Net service, which provides vital support to those experiencing domestic abuse where English is not their first language.
This is an important service that helps to remove some of the barriers that people from these communities face when accessing support, as well as providing advice on issues such as immigration options and safety planning.
The support received has not just been limited to monetary donations, with many businesses and organisations providing packages containing essential items for service users in Leeway’s refuges and the community.
Many survivors flee with little more than the clothes that they are wearing, often without the essential items, such as toiletries, that many of us would take for granted.
This has been a massive boost for the charity and survivors, particularly given that the pandemic has seen the demand for Leeway’s services increase.
Mandy Proctor, Chief Executive of Leeway, said: “The support that we have received throughout the pandemic has been incredible, whether it has been from businesses, organisations, community groups or individuals in the community.
“The pandemic has meant we have been unable to hold fundraising activities, which would help us raise funds to enhance and sustain the services that we provide.
“The generous support of so many people has enabled us to continue to do this at a time where the demand for Leeway’s services has increased and we are extremely grateful for this support.”
As lockdown restrictions are slowly being eased, the charity continues to see an increase in the number of people contacting for advice and support.
With those experiencing domestic abuse spending large periods of time with the perpetrator, it has made it harder for them to access support without alerting them.
These barriers are slowly being removed as people return to work and shops are opening again, but it emphasises the work still to be done around raising awareness of domestic abuse and the help available.
On a positive note, the easing of restrictions also means that Leeway has been able to put plans in place for some events in the summer and autumn months ahead.
A music event with Harbour Radio is planned in August and the charity’s popular golf day will make a return in September, if the roadmap out of lockdown progresses as planned.
This is a really positive starting point though and the charity hopes to hold further events throughout the remainder of 2021 too, provided there are no setbacks on the lifting of restrictions.
For more information on Leeway’s upcoming events and training, as well as the services that the charity provides, visit www.leewaysupport.org or on Leeway’s social media channels.