Three days before Christmas Eve, a woman with two teenage children, called our Helpline.
Her family had been placed in a safe house by the district council and had nothing but the clothes they walked out in – no bedding, crockery, cutlery, table, chairs – the accommodation had just beds and a cooker. She had no means to buy any of these essentials – no access to funds. They had little food.
As soon as we heard the news, we spread the word amongst our staff to see how we could help. Within 24hrs one of our service managers, Lisa Peplow had been in touch for a list of items needed – and, along with fellow manager Jo Midgely, had rallied around and were soon on their way with a car loaded with new duvets and bedlinen, toiletries, crockery, saucepans, pyjamas, a dressing gown, Christmas gifts – and food for the Christmas period.
The donations were received with a mixture of emotions – happiness, sadness and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
In the meantime, two of our amazing supporters contacted us to see if we needed any additional help over the Christmas period. When we told them this story, they said – ‘Leave it with us’ and through their friends and family they filled yet another car with so many useful and generous gifts including a hairdryer, ironing board, mirror, bedside lamp and fresh food. One supporter’s mum even gave gift vouchers for the children as a late Christmas gift. When Lisa delivered these the day after Boxing day, the woman and her family were over the moon.
We have been in touch since and the woman has shared how she never expected that West Mercia Women’s Aid could do all of this for her family in such a short amount of time. Because of this support, her children were able to have a good Christmas considering the trauma of moving to a new temporary home.
At a time when so many agencies were closed for Christmas, we are pleased that we were there – as we always intend to be – when we were needed most.
“As I drove away, I had to stop the car to reflect on what had happened that day – there were tears of sadness that this still happens in this day and age but also a feeling of being so very grateful to be able to help another woman fleeing abuse. The day before the Christmas break is a busy one for us, however, when we got that call, we were able to drop everything to help. I could not have felt happier that another family is now, warm, have beds to sleep in and food to eat but much more than that….are safe. As women together….we stand together.” Lisa Peplow, IDVA Service Manager
This – and all that we do – wouldn’t be possible without our incredible staff and our invaluable network of supporters.
Find our more about how you can support our work here