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Latest News

Solace is recruiting a Clinical Trustee

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The Board of trustees is looking to recruit a talented new member to complement the skills and expertise of the existing Board. Strong candidates will be able to demonstrate knowledge of and expertise in the therapeutic field (counselling or psychotherapy). Candidates should have a deep understanding of the psychological impact of abuse and the challenges abuse represents to the designing and delivering effective therapeutic services.
Successful candidates will be required to attend 4 board meetings and two away days each year as well as participate on a board sub-committee. Trustees can claim reasonable out-of-pocket and travel expenses but are not otherwise remunerated.

Clinical- Trustee Application Pack FV

151001 Trustee Application Form

To apply please complete the attached application form quoting the reference number SWA25091 and return it to recruitment@solacewomensaid.org.   The closing date for applications is 12noon, Monday 21st March 2016.

Interviews will take place during the weeks commencing 4th and 11th of April.
Solace Women’s Aid values diversity, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. We encourage and welcome applications from women of all backgrounds. Applicants from BME groups are particularly encouraged to apply. The post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, will be subject to an enhanced DBS check and open to women only (exempt under the Equality Act 2010).

Donate a gift today to support a woman and child fleeing violence this winter

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Around the festive period – when we see even more women fleeing abusive partners as the violence and threat escalates –  Solace needs your help to provide for the most basic of needs.

Many women and children will be arriving at our refuges this winter with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing; Alone, their confidence destroyed and traumatised from experiencing horrific abuse. Solace offers them a safe space, support and something of their own.

A gift of £14 could pay for an essentials welcome pack with food and toiletries for a mother and child arriving at one of our refuges this winter

For the same amount as a small present, making a donation of £14 could make those first steps to safety and recovery that little bit easier this winter.

Click HERE TO DONATE NOW or text SOLA07 with the amount (£4, £14, £40) to 70070 e.g. SOLA07£10

 

Milena’s Journey

Last year Milena found solace at one of our refuges. Read about her journey towards recovery:

Surviving abuse…

Milena’s husband was initially charming and confident, but he quickly became increasingly controlling and abusive. He decided what she could wear, what she could eat and who she could see. He would demand sex and rape her when she refused. Milena was abused physically, emotionally, financially and sexually for five years. The violence continued to escalate and on one occasion he violently pulled her around by her hair and tried to choke her.

The first steps to safety…

After several attempts to leave, which can often be the most dangerous time for women and children, she was finally able to escape.

But getting away, and finding solace at one of our refuges was just the first step towards safety and recovery. Over the next few months she got specialist help and access a range of our holistic services.

Rebuilding and recovering…

Attending the Solace ARISE domestic violence awareness program helped Milena understand the dynamics of abuse and rebuild her confidence and self-agency and build resilience to further abuse by recognising early abusive behaviours. Weekly 1-1 emotional and practical support meant she had consistent support to work through her experiences and also start to stabilise her financial situation. Participating in a Solace parenting programme vitally helped rebuild and improve her relationship with her daughter.

The journey continues…

Having accessed a foundation of specialist support through the refuge, Milena has now been referred to our counselling team to help work through more of the emotional scars inflicted by abuse and she will also get practical support and further independence through our Leap into Work scheme.

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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)

 

Solace needs your vote to win National Lottery Awards!

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Solace Women’s Aid’s Silver Project is through to the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards and needs your vote to win.

The Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects, and they recognise and celebrate the difference that Lottery-funded projects make to communities across the UK.

Solace Women’s Aid’s Silver Project supports women in London aged 55 years and over who are affected by domestic and sexual violence. The project provides women with tailored one-to-one support to help improve their safety, health and confidence. It also provides training for professionals such as doctors, nurses, care workers and police officers to help them spot signs of abuse amongst older people.

The National Lottery Awards have seven categories – each reflecting an area of Lottery funding: Sport; Heritage; Arts; Environment; Health; Education; and Voluntary/Charity. The Silver Project is one of only seven projects to make it through to the finals in the Best Health Project category.

Mary Mason, CEO Solace Women’s Aid says: “We’re delighted that our Silver Project has reached the finals of The National Lottery Awards. With increased awareness of abuse we are tragically seeing more and more extremely vulnerable women over 55 in need of support following years or even decades of horrendous domestic or sexual violence. The Silver Project, funded by Lottery money, provides each woman with individual, often life-saving support. By voting for our Silver Project, the importance of this vital work will be recognised nationally, enabling us to help even more older-women who are being abused behind closed doors.”

The winning project in each category will receive national recognition on a star-studded BBC One TV show in early September and, in addition to the Lottery funding they have already received, will be given a £3,000 cash prize to spend on their project.

Voting for the finals starts at 9am on 22 June and ends at midnight on 20 July. To register your vote for The Silver Project call 0844 836 9704 or log on to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards/health

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The Arsenal Foundation grant helps children & young people in Islington refuges

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Solace is extremely pleased to announce that The Arsenal Foundation has kindly donated £7,500 to help Solace provide vital support to children and young people living in our refuges in Islington.

the_arsenal_foundationMary Mason, CEO of Solace Women’s Aid, said:

“Solace Women’s Aid would like to thank The Arsenal Foundation for this generous grant. Families arrive in our refuges in crisis and through working with the children and young people and their mothers, providing emotional and practical support, we are able to minimise the damage caused by domestic abuse. Your funds will help with this crucial recovery work so children can move on from the trauma they’ve experienced and continue to fulfil their potential as young adults.”

Women’s voices: “The light that guided me through the darkness”

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I want to begin this with saying thank you to every single person who has been involved in making Solace possible. The work you do is priceless and it has changed my life and that of those around me for the better. Words cannot express how thankful I am to you for extending your hand in helping me climb out of the ditch, stand firm and see the world and myself and to walk towards my destination, no matter how uneven the pavements might be.

I came to Solace, eight months ago, frozen in time and completely dead on the inside, like a lifeless doll. Having tried therapy numerous times through other services, I was unsure as to whether this was going to work for me. On the first day, I was also a little lost in finding the address given that there were no signs, but that in itself attributed to feeling safe immediately.

Week after week, a little bit of me, came back alive. When I had tried therapy in the past, I needed to first explain the cultural side of things and go through a geography session of which part of the world I came from to the therapist but I didn’t have to go through that with my therapist from Solace. She knows how to help people that come from a minority ethnic background. I think this is very important and valuable, as not only does it save time and energy but also plays a big role in building the trust that is needed to open up and get on with the issues that lie at the core.

The dynamics of my close relationships have changed for the better, my career has taken a new direction, and I am finally following my passion of writing and doing a masters in a field that I enjoy. But most important of all I feel reborn.

In such a short amount of time, my therapist has helped me help myself. The dynamics of my close relationships have changed for the better, my career has taken a new direction, and I am finally following my passion of writing and doing a masters in a field that I enjoy. But most important of all I feel reborn. My therapy sessions have come to an end, but I know my healing has just begun. There will be ups and downs but I now have the armour to protect myself, the knowledge to notice the patterns, the courage to face the winters and my therapist says that I can always come back if I need more sessions.

I have always been sceptical of institutions but I have seen the work that Solace does first hand, and I hope to be in a position in the near future to support Solace to continue to do the life changing work they do. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who have experienced what I have and don’t have the privilege of coming to a place like Solace and meeting someone as knowledgeable, understanding, inspiring and caring as my therapist. I want to also thank the group facilitators of the arts therapy as that also hugely helped me.

I can say that I feel that I have a deeper understanding of what happened in my life, why I responded the way I did, why I have felt so disconnected from my body. I am learning to just be in the moment and enjoy the gift of being present. I don’t feel dead on the inside. I no longer want to be rescued. In short, feel that I have choices and more tools to take care of myself, something which was I was lacking before.

I am a survivor of war, child sexual abuse and human smuggling, honor based violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, addiction, failed systems and old traditions. And I still have so much love and hope for this world.

Meet our amazing volunteers: Apollonia

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I’ve always had a dream of being part of the Solace Women’s Aid’s team because I am passionate about helping women and children who are victims of any injustices that include Domestic Violence and Abuse. My long held dream came true in August 2015 when I applied for a position to become one of Solace’s dedicated volunteers. Since then, I have been volunteering with one of the Refuge’s, with the Floating Support team and at the head office Reception.

Volunteer APOLLONIAI find my work very fascinating and mind blowing experience as I go along doing my day to day duties. Especially when I am in between offices, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of staff members from different offices. Being at the head office it has helped me to learn more about the organisation really fast. The support I receive from other staff members is amazing and gives me a reason to want to know more and more so that I can give a professional service to women in whatever duty or role I have been assigned.

 

One of the things I mostly appreciate about Solace is the none stop training opportunities and exposure that nourishes my experience and equips me with the knowledge and skills that are essential for my future.

 

The training and workshops I have received have just reinforced Solace’s vision in my mind and in my career in becoming a professional worker in any department with a very professional approach combined with a therapeutic method towards women and children.

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