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Our Summer Interns

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We would like to say a big thank you to our summer Interns who joined us over the summer. It has been great having you as part of our different services at Solace.

 

“Eager and motivated to make a difference, I walked in on my first day at Solace with a positive attitude, unaware of the close friendships I would build, the way this experience would shape my future or the impact this organization would leave on my heart. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming. I wouldn’t have dreamed of spending the past two months any other way.”

Kendon Spering joined us from West Virginia University, USA. (Advice and Reception intern at Solace)

 

“I really enjoyed my volunteer placement because it prepared me and gave me an insight to the daily tasks and skills to work with DV survivors and within a non-profit organization. I also really enjoyed working with all the caseworkers and interacting with them on a daily basis and learning from them. I have gained the skills of speaking with domestic violence victims about their abuse, providing support when a service user is upset, and providing resources to them. I can use the communication skills I have developed while working at Solace Women’s Aid and apply them when working with my local police department as a victim’s advocate. I just want to thank all the caseworkers for their hard work and ability to take me in and train me.”

Jenessa Fredde from USA (Advice Intern at Solace)

 

“What I liked about my volunteer placement was being given trust and learn about service users journeys. To help make decisions about how best to support client and feeling very welcomed as part of administrative team. It was great to feel like part of a professional, supportive team and to feel like I was actually contributing and being part of a Service Users  journey.”

Alexa Abraha, Richmond Uni (Counselling Administrative team at Solace)

Find out about our Advice Line Volunteer: Elena

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I have always been aware of the great importance of supporting women who are victims of domestic violence/abuse. After qualifying as a social worker, I decided to come to England where feminism and social 20160627_102533_resizedwork have developed as a model for other European countries. Applying to become a volunteer at Solace Women’s Aid was my first opportunity to develop a better knowledge of domestic violence and professional practice. I had the opportunity to become a volunteer at the Advice Line and I could not have been more enthusiastic in starting this learning journey. During my volunteering I learnt a lot: how to professionally respond to girls and women victims of domestic violence/abuse, how to signpost them and refer them to other services, what kind of support is available in terms of housing, refuge, safety planning…

The fact that I was volunteering in a feminist environment confirmed my belief that it is possible to help and empower women, fight against male violence, sexism and injustice. It made me believe that even one day as a volunteer can help to change the world for the better. I met professional advice caseworkers and I had the opportunity to learn from them, to give attention to every small detail, to learn all about services available and professionals involved in supporting women victims of domestic violence. When I felt overwhelmed by service users’ personal situations I had the opportunity to share my concerns with experienced caseworkers. During these months I have constantly admired their enthusiasm and their way of helping women with great professionalism.

20160627_102456_resizedSometimes I did not know what to do, but an advice caseworker would always support me and tell me how to go on with the next step. Every step is important to help women to understand and go beyond domestic violence, every step gives hope.

I also met other volunteers, all with the same dream: to make a change in a woman’s life.  I had the opportunity to receive specific training sessions and also to attend the National Award in Preventing and Tackling domestic violence and abuse. I studied at University for five years before becoming a social worker, but in all this time I never received such specific and professional training on domestic violence.  For me this has been an incredible opportunity of active learning, of sharing group tasks and of receiving feedback from the Volunteer Coordinator.

I could not be happier and more thankful, this experience not only helped me to develop specific knowledge and professional responses, but also helped me to develop self-confidence and keep believing in the dream of helping vulnerable women. For me, Solace Women’s Aid has been a big chance, a big opportunity.

Elena Bufo – Advice Line Volunteer

She is the first volunteer to have successfully completed the 5 Core Training sessions in the past year. Elena was awarded a Solace training certificate for this. Elena was also awarded a certificate for completing 100 hours of volunteering on the Advice Line.

Well done and congratulations from everyone at Solace.

Feedback from Asat Owens – Advice Service Manger

Elena’s was great asset to the Advice Service.  She was resourceful, helpful and a pleasure to work with, Elena proved herself to be very a capable when dealing with sensitive information around domestic and sexual abuse with her broad understanding and her ability to create a caring and encouraging environment for service users.  Elena  quickly formed good working relationships with the team and worked as part of the team. Elena is going to be missed loads by the advice service. We wish her all the best for future.

Rock Against Violence 2016 – get your early bird tickets now

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We are pleased to announce that Rock Against Violence 2016 will take place on 10th November at the O2 Academy in Islington. The concert will feature stellar London-based bands, all in aid of Solace Women’s Aid. Established in 2011, Rock Against Violence has grown into Solace’s annual flagship music event, earning a staggering £25,000 in 2015. This year, we encourage you to join us for a night of fun, entertainment and charity.

Rock Against Violence 2016 Lineup

Hunter & the Bear A powerful blend of folk, rock and country music culminating in strong vocal harmonies and soaring guitar parts brings you the signature sound of Hunter & The Bear. Read more and listen free tracks on their website.

Patch & the Giant Folk Radio UK describes the band as “Tucked somewhere between the music of Balkan enthusiasts Beirut and the rustic elegance of modern DIY folk”. Read more and listen free tracks on their website.

We Used to Make Things We Used to Make Things is an eight piece London-based indie-pop band with big horns, big harmonies and a healthy respect for a melodic hook and fat groove. Read more and listen free tracks on their Facebook page.

Ticket Information

Early bird tickets are on sale for £12.50 at RAV2016.eventbrite.co.uk now through 30th September with regularly-priced tickets at £15 thereafter. Tickets at the door will be £20. During the show, there will also be a silent auction and raffle prizes to raise additional funds for Solace, including a Gourmet Society membership, a VIP personal shopping appointment with money to spend, private bartending services, collector’s items, beauty products and many more.

If you cannot attend on 10th November, please consider making a donation to Solace Women’s Aid via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PowerofSolace.

More Details

More information about Rock Against Violence 2016 will be announced in the coming weeks. You can follow details on our website, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

Rock Against Violence is driven by the Power of Solace, which raises funds to benefit Solace Women’s Aid via various events and activities throughout the year.

Our community / Our music / Our power to change

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Women exiting prostitution and trafficking offered vital support through new project

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Solace Women’s Aid has launched the Amari project, a new project in partnership with Commonweal Housing, with funding from London Councils, providing accommodation and support to women in London who are exiting prostitution or who have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

 

While a safe, secure place to live plays a vital role in aiding women’s recovery from violence or abuse, women who have exited prostitution or trafficking are some of the most marginalised in society and there is a significant lack of specialist housing and support projects specifically tailored to this client group.

 

The Amari project, which takes its name from an African-Yoruba word for ‘Strength’, provides support of up to 18-months in the form of step-down accommodation to women who are moving on from emergency accommodation or community support to help women maintain their tenancies. Alongside housing services, the project also offers vital emotional and practical support to help women recover, become more independent and get back into education or employment.

 

The links between abuse and prostitution are indisputable. 85% of women in prostitution report that they grew up with physical abuse in the family and 45% report familial sexual abuse (Home Office Paying the price, 2004). More than 50% of women working in prostitution have been raped and/or seriously assaulted and at least 75% have been physically assaulted (AVA Policy briefing on Prostitution, 2011).

 

Recovery is often not a quick or linear process. The majority of women who are exiting prostitution or trafficking suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and may have multiple and complex needs as a result of the abuse that they have survived.

 

Mary, CEO of Solace Women’s Aid, said:

 

Solace is pleased to be working in partnership with Commonweal to launch the Amari project. This vital service will enable women to access support over a longer period of time within a stable environment so they can recover at their own pace, whilst moving towards long-term independence and a life free from abuse.

 

Ashley Horsey, Chief Executive of Commonweal Housing, said

 

Commonweal are really pleased to provide housing stock and support to this project and to share our experience and learning around this client group from our previous support of the Chrysalis Project. From the work we did on that project we know the crucial role housing can play in a staged model of exiting prostitution, particularly after the initial emergency accommodation stage ends. We look forward to working with Solace in developing a best practice project.

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Big Lottery to fund vital support for older women affected by abuse for further 5 years

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Solace is delighted that the Big Lottery Fund has awarded almost £300,000 to the Silver Project for another five years so they can continue providing life-saving support to women aged 55+ who have been affected by domestic or sexual abuse.

With a range of additional barriers that older women could face, such as physical or mental health issues and generational attitudes towards relationships, many are afraid and unable to seek help. Domestic abuse amongst older women can also be overlooked by services such as local social care teams and hospitals.

The Silver Project targets the issues behind the barriers and works alongside women to create safety plans and tailored one-to-one support to help improve their safety, health and confidence. It also provides training for professionals such as doctors and police officers to help them spot signs of abuse amongst older people and respond appropriately.

Mary Mason, CEO Solace Women’s Aid says:

We are extremely pleased that, through Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities programme, we will be able to provide vital support to hundreds more women who’ve suffered years or even decades of horrendous abuse. The specialist knowledge and support the Silver project provides is essential in helping older survivors, the oldest so far being 101, recover and live free from abuse.

 

Read our recent blog about the Silver Project and support for older survivors of abuse: It’s our right to be safe at any age. How can we make it easier for older victims to get help?

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Solace awarded £25,000 by News Corp Giving

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Solace Women’s Aid has been awarded £25,000 as part of News Corp Giving philanthropic initiative. This year the fund has donated £100,000 to three more UK charities, as voted for by employees at Dow Jones, HarperCollins UK and News UK.

Mary Mason, CEO of Solace Women’s Aid, said: “Solace Women’s Aid was absolutely delighted to hear that the staff from News UK, HarperCollins and Dow Jones have chosen this fantastic charity to support. The generous £25,000 donation will make a real difference to the support we can provide children and young people in our refuges in Haringey. These children and young people have all experienced or witnessed horrific domestic violence and we will help them to rebuild their lives free from abuse.”

Solace was chosen from a shortlist of seven charitable organisations that strengthen, support and provide for the communities in which News Corp’s UK-based employees live and work.

More than 1,000 votes were cast by employees from across the three companies – including those at News Corp UK’s London Bridge headquarters, News UK’s print site in Broxbourne and HarperCollins’ Glasgow distribution centre – who were invited to vote for the charities they thought deserving of the funding.

Now in its second year, the initiative opens up further opportunities for employees of Dow Jones, HarperCollins UK and News UK to get involved in volunteering, fundraising and long-term support.

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Theatre Company and Traveller women join forces to tell the story of domestic violence

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The Traveller Movement and Solace Women’s Aid partnership project along with Giants Theatre Company, has joined forces with Gypsy, Traveller and Roma women to tell the story of domestic violence within the community.

Domestic violence and abuse is an issue for a large number of Gypsy and Traveller women in the UK; a 2007 study found that 81% of Irish Traveller women and 61% of English Gypsy women in married relationships had directly experienced domestic abuse.

Yet, a combination of traditional cultural values around relationships, low literacy rates and institutional barriers to services mean that it can be difficult for Gypsy and Traveller women to access support services.

The culmination of a yearlong project, which saw the theatre company and the Traveller Movement work with the women to write a play to increase awareness and understanding of domestic violence, within both communities and service providers.

The play itself tells the story of Moira Le Bas who is swept off her feet by the charming Patrick Murphy. Within a year Moira has left school and is starting a new life as Patrick’s wife, despite her cousin Bridie’s reservations. Twenty years later, it seems that Bridie was right and Moira is left wondering if she should have realised what Patrick was like when he promised: ‘I’m never going to beat you’.

Irish Traveller, Tina Purcell who is performing in the play said: “Through this play we’re hoping to make people aware and educate younger Travellers that domestic violence is not right and it shouldn’t happen.

A lot of people don’t realise domestic violence can kill, hopefully by seeing what happens to Moira, people will choose a different path. It’s been a mixed emotional process for all of the women taking part, but we’ve enjoyed it. I’m nervous but looking forward to the big night!”

Yvonne MacNamara CEO of the Traveller Movement said: “‘Never Going to Beat You’ is a raw and personal piece of community drama. With a cast formed of Gypsy and Traveller women alongside actor Paul McGuinness, the play is an authentic look at the realities of domestic violence within these communities”.

She added: “This play will not only benefit the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community but will also be a helpful step in helping service providers understand the realities of domestic violence within these communities.”

Jennie Buckman of Giants Theatre Company, who co-wrote the play, said:

“Working with the women in writing and rehearsing the play has been a fantastic experience. Stories such as these are best told by members of the affected community, and this is why ‘never going to beat you’ is such a powerful production.”

 

London organisations respond to post-Brexit racist and sexist abuse by urging people to become Upstanders not Bystanders

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We are a large group of organisations in London supporting women affected by domestic, sexual and other forms of abuse against women and girls. We are dismayed at the huge increase in reports of racist incidents to many of our organisations over the past week. This follows the BREXIT vote in the UK which seems to have given credibility to racist and sexist behaviour and to abuse against immigrants. We are writing to ask your readers whoever you are to make sure that anyone facing this is not isolated or alone – that you safely show your support, that you report what is happening to police or transport police and become an Upstander not a Bystander.  Through silence we agree with this behaviour, by speaking out we represent the majority in London who abhor racism and sexism and do not want this in our city, and who welcome the rich diversity in London.

On behalf of:

Advice UK, Natalia Perez

Against Violence and Abuse (AVA), Donna Covey

Ashiana Network, Shaminder Ubhi

Asian Women’s Resource Centre, Sarbjit Ganger

Chinese Information and Advice Centre (CIAC), Jaime Law

EACH, Sandra Machado

Forward, Toks Okeniyi

IMECE Women’s Centre, Meral Halkaci

IMKAAN, Marai Larassi OBE, Director

Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Organisation (IKWRO), Diana Nammi

Jewish Women’s Aid, Naomi Dickson

Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS), Carolina Gottardo

NIA Ending Violence, Karen Ingala Smith

Respect, Sara Kirkpatrick

Rights of Women, Estelle du Boulay

Solace Women’s Aid, Mary Mason

Southall Black Sisters, Pragna Patel

Tender, Susie McDonald

Women’s Aid Federation of England, Nicki Norman

Women and Girls Network, Gurpreet Virdee

Women’s Resource Centre, Vivienne Hayes

Stand Up 4 Women comedy nights in aid of Solace

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2 WEEKS; 5 NIGHTS; 50 FUNNY WOMEN. Over the course of two weeks, there will be five fabulous comedy nights which will feature over 50 women in order to raise money for Solace Women’s Aid. All these women are empowered and of course extremely funny!

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Monday 27th June 2016 – CAMDEN COMEDY CLUB
This little room above the Camden Head pub in Camden Town has featured comedy nights for a number of years, often being highlighted in Time Out magazine for the fantastic performers from the alternative comedy circuit right up to TV headliners and arena fillers. They have featured on BBC Radio, BBC TV, Evening Standard and Time Out magazine. It has a respectful reputation and therefore we are delighted to hold our Camden edition here, featuring some of the best funny women currently on the comedy circuit.

Featuring Cally Beaton, Victoria Howden, Sarah Mills, Sophie Henderson, Sindhu Vee, Desiree Burch with a special headliner TBA and hosted by Thanyia Moore.
Tickets – £7.00 in advance
Doors open: 6.45pm Show starts: 7.30pm
Buy Tickets: https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/comedy/stand-up-4-women-camden?t=tickets

 

Wednesday 29th June – COMEDY VIRGINS at THE CAVENDISH ARMS

Considered one of the best open mic nights in South London (the organiser may be a bit biased but she only speaks the truth). The night regularly attracts up to twenty performers three nights a week and we are thankful that they have allowed us to hijack one of their nights to help us raise money. You’ll be guaranteed a good laugh and the comedians have a chance to have a free drink on the house if the audience shouts BUY THEM A DRINK!

Doors open at 7pm – FREE ENTRY (bucket donations at the end)

 

Sunday 3rd July – BREAD AND ROSES THEATRE, CLAPHAM
A 50-seat fringe theatre venue in South London, The Bread & Roses Theatre programs a wide-spread variety of productions for local as well as far-reaching audiences whilst providing theatre-makers with a space to develop and present their work. On September 21st 2015 The Bread & Roses Theatre was announced as a winner of the 2015 ICWP 50/50 Applause Award and also listed on Time Out as one of their readers’ six favourite small-scale theatres in London. We are so happy that Bread & Roses is hosting our Clapham edition which will feature some of the best funny women to look out for in 2016.

Featuring the talents of Suzy Wilde, Micky Overman, Alex Wieroniey, Arielle Souma, Fiona Ridgewell, Katie Pritchard and headlined by Harriet Kemsley
Tickets – £8.00 in advance
Doors open: 6.45pm Show starts: 7.30pm
Buy Tickets: http://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/comedy/stand-up-4-women-clapham-edition

 

Tuesday 5th July – RAH RAH ROOM, WEST END
The Rah Rah Room is a place where effortlessly stylish modernity goes hand in hand with good old-fashioned fun. The Rah Rah Room occupies a sweet spot in both place and size. It is a party venue without peer in the very heart of London which is the perfect venue to host the West End edition of our event. The night will featuring some of the best up and coming professional comedians.

Featuring Bec Hill, Viv Groskop, Sadia Azmat, Pippa Evans, Elf Lyons, Lolly Adefope
Tickets – £15.00 in advance, more on the door
Doors open: 6.45pm Show starts: 7.30pm
Buy Tickets: http://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/comedy/stand-up-4-women-west-end

 

Thursday 7th July – G&B COMEDY, WEST HAM
The promoter, Kyle Wallace runs ones of the most popular open mic nights amongst comedians. The reason why? … Because the night is filled with awesome fun. From Kyle himself performing magic tricks to the prizes given to the best clappers. G&B Comedy spoils audiences with buzzing rooms full of excitement, magic and great comedy and Kyle’s Girl Power Night is always a highlight.

Doors open at 7pm – FREE ENTRY (bucket donations at the end)

 

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