Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Community UpdateNewsSlider

Major funding given to tackle women and girls’ issues in Berkshire

Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) distributed £464,000 over 66 grants made in its 2020/2021 financial year, to 15 charities and community groups in Berkshire tackling women and girls’ issues.

These figures were announced at BCF’s ‘Together for Women’ event held last Friday, attended by The Right Honourable Theresa May, MP for Maidenhead and former Prime Minister of the UK, and sponsored by local businesses including CCLA, Conference Contacts, Monkey Island Estate and Reckitt (see picture above).

Over lunch, 80 female leaders in Berkshire’s corporate, civil and charitable sector heard an update on BCF’s ‘Together for Women’ fund, launched in 2019 to tackle women’s issues, ranging from domestic abuse and homelessness to financial hardship, exploitation and modern slavery.

Gerry Lejeune OBE DL, CEO of Berkshire Community Foundation and Chair of the Berkshire Anti-Slavery Network, said, “The problems of sexual abuse, modern slavery and domestic violence are historical and ongoing in Berkshire, exacerbated by isolation and poverty. Recent high-profile cases of violence against women have raised much-needed awareness, but it is not enough.”

She continued: “Thankfully, a lot is being done behind the scenes by the Thames Valley Police, statutory agencies and voluntary groups to ensure support is in place. By bringing an interested, influential and important group of women together today, we hope to continue raising the profile of these crucial topics and, importantly, raise funds that enable us to support charities that provide women and girls a lifeline when it is most needed.”

One in three women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, whilst on average two women are killed each week in England and Wales by a current or former partner. Almost two in three (62%) children who live with domestic abuse are also directly harmed by the perpetrator. To date in 2021, there have been 406 identified victims of modern slavery in the Thames Valley area.

Antonia Cavalier, Director of Client Investments at CCLA, said: “Modern slavery continues to blight the lives of millions around the world, not least in the UK. Companies have a major role to play in rooting out slavery in their supply chains, but individuals can also take part by scrutinising their investments and calling for deeper and more effective action. CCLA is proud to lead the effort to unite the investment sector against modern slavery and are delighted to help raise awareness of the issue right here in Berkshire.”

A ‘Together for Women’ silent auction held in conjunction with the event has raised a total of £5,000 to date and is set to close on 12th November 2021. Proceeds from the auction will go directly towards the Together for Women initiative, funding groups and activities across Berkshire that provide vital support to those suffering because of modern slavery, exploitation, domestic abuse, sexual assault and social isolation.

Caron Kipping, Divorce and Separation Coach and author of ‘Recognition to recovery: How to leave your abusive ex behind for good’, said: “Sadly, domestic abuse and violence can happen to anyone, whatever their background or social circle. But there is always hope and the resilience and tenacity of women cannot be underestimated. When women come together to tackle these big issues together, so much is possible. I’m excited to see what the Together for Women initiative achieves in the coming years.”

Pei-Leeng Yeoh, Marketing Manager of Monkey Island Estate/ YTL Hotels, said: “We were delighted to host the Berkshire Community Foundation’s Together for Women event here at Monkey Island Estate in Bray as Together for Women is hugely important in tackling key issues and supporting disadvantaged women and girls in the Berkshire county. As a hotel in Berkshire lots of our staff and guests live locally and so we are so proud to support the local community, the Berkshire Community Foundation and all the great things that they do for vital causes in the area.”

Berkshire Community Foundation works across Berkshire to raise, then distribute, funds to charities and community groups tackling vital needs and causes in the County. In its 2020/2021 financial year it distributed £3.2 million in grants to 230 charities and groups running 450+ community projects in Berkshire – touching the lives of 1.5 million people.