Our 2017 charity partner was announced earlier this month, and the 4Com team have been training hard in the lead up to the Isle of Wight Challenge on Saturday 15th July, aiming to raise up to £40,000 for Ashley’s Birthday Bank. In light of all the hard work that is going into raising this money, we wanted to reflect on the hard work that Ashley’s Birthday Bank do for our community.
Ashley’s Birthday Bank do incredibly important work with some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The charity offers two main services; providing underprivileged children with a birthday and Christmas gift to ensure they are not without on these special occasions and secondly, a crisis service, providing food packs, clothes and toiletries to families who are struggling financially or to those who have escaped domestic violence, neglect or are victims of human trafficking.
Domestic abuse is an issue that exists within our society, with an estimated 2 million victims a year, according to the 2016 Crime Survey for England and Wales. According to the Home Office, it is defined as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 years or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or are family members. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.”
In 2014/15, 944,000 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded, but despite such a high number, only 93,000 prosecutions were pursued by the CPS, and only 69,000 convictions were secured. Domestic violence is a crime that is very under-reported, as many victims find it difficult to report it to the police or someone they trust due to the fear of leaving a relationship or losing the support of their family. But those who do flee their home to escape the violence and abuse, often leave all their personal belongings behind to seek help at a refuge, which is why the work that Ashley’s Birthday Bank do is so vital and needs to continue.
Jessica Noble-Gresty, Domestic Violence Child Support Worker from BCHA explains why Ashley’s Birthday Bank is essential to local victims: “They give the clients a little bit of relief at one of the hardest times of their lives. Without Ashley’s Birthday Bank, we would not be able to give the families who come to the refuge the things they need to start their new lives.”
Ashley’s Birthday Bank work voluntarily, meaning every penny raised and items donated go directly to the local families in need. The money raised from our Isle of Wight Challenge will be funding the charity’s “New Start” project, which helps families who have escaped domestic violence, poverty and neglect with essential household items to set up their new home with.
Ashley’s Birthday Bank not only provides essential items for victims as they rebuild their lives, but also gives advice and helps to create the contact with services who can provide assistance and support. Ashley’s Birthday Bank work alongside several local organisations including: Bournemouth Women’s Refuge, Poole Women’s Refuge, Bournemouth Domestic Violence Outreach Project, Citizens Advice, Dorset Rape Crisis, Relate (Bournemouth & Poole) and Victim Support.
As highlighted in this article, the work that Ashley’s Birthday Bank do is vital for so many. For more information on the work that Ashley’s Birthday Bank do, please visit their site here.