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First Light attend Freshers events across the South West

Last week members of the First Light team attended Freshers events across the South West to raise awareness about domestic abuse and sexual violence to students and young people.

Staff attended various events across the counties with a stall which was filled with helpful information and advice and of course free items for the students and young people to take away with them.

The teams schedule was and continues to be extremely busy for Freshers events. Take a look at the different schools, colleges and universities that they attended:

Tuesday 21st September – Falmouth Marine School

Wednesday 22nd September – Bicton College.

Wednesday 22nd September – Friday 24th September – Plymouth University

Thursday 23rd September – Duchy College Rosewarne

Friday 24th September – Cornwall College Newquay

Tuesday 28th September – Cornwall College St. Austell

Wednesday 29th September – Cornwall College Camborne

Thursday 30th September – Duchy College Stoke Climsland

At the event the students and young people were also given the opportunity to scan a QR code to take them to an anonymous question form. This is a safe space for them to ask questions that they would not feel comfortable asking or they would prefer to ask online, to be answered on our social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Over the next few weeks, this will be implemented into social spaces in schools, colleges and universities across the South West for individuals, no matter their age, to ask questions.

Cornwall Domestic Abuse Helpline

The Extended Hours Service was fully launched on the 10th May with all the Helpline Response Worker roles in post and induction training complete. The Helpline now operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 9pm, and on Saturdays between 9am and 5pm.

Our Team are on hand to provide advice and support to individuals experiencing abuse, anyone worried about someone else and professionals receiving a disclosure of abuse.

We have also recruited a Helpline Team Leader to manage and develop the Helpline service, whilst also providing support and supervision to the Helpline Response Workers, especially given the number of new team members.

It has been a busy and productive few months. The number of calls received has risen significantly during the quarter suggesting that the launch of our extended hours service is beginning to show an impact on the number of people who are able to access the service. The number of calls received or made by the Helpline Response Team has increased from 2,770 in the three months Jan to Mar 21 to 3,492 in the three months Apr to Jun 21, a 26% increase in calls.

It is with great pride that we are able to report that due to the increased staffing funded by Barclays that the Helpline is now able to make first contact with those referred by other agencies within 48 hours. This ensures advice and support is available at the most crucial time to those at risk.

Of the Helpline callers:

  • 946 referrals were made into other First Light services for individuals requiring longer-term support or those deemed at high risk of domestic homicide or serious harm.
  • 813 individuals experiencing abuse received advice and support by the Helpline Response Team, and required no further support.

The number of individuals directly supported by the Team has rose by 660% from the 107 individuals directly supported in the previous quarter. This level of intervention by the Helpline Response Workers has only been possible through the Barclays funding.

Autumn 2021 Newsletter

Message to supporters from  Lyn Gooding, Chief Executive:

Dear supporter,

It has been a while since our last newsletter and so I wanted to share with you some of the things that have been happening.

Sadly, we have seen another increase in demand for our services over the past year, no doubt in part due to the impact of the pandemic on individuals and families. To help us cope with this, we have been very fortunate and grateful to receive a number of grants and donations that are being used to help support and expand our services.

We know the pandemic has resulted in financial hardship for many, which is why we are so incredibly grateful to all of our supporters who donate or volunteer for us, as without your support we would not be able to reach as many people affected by trauma as we do, so on behalf of all our staff and clients I wish to thank you for your generosity in helping us to help others lead safer lives, free from violence and abuse.

E-News:

We are delighted to announce our new volunteer led Mentoring programme supporting adults affected by domestic abuse in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We have already received some wonderful feedback:

Absolutely more than helpful especially as I was on a waiting list for counselling this was absolutely crucial being able to talk to someone now and in an honest way… not judged…like lifting a huge weight off my shoulders”. A service like this is “Literally a life saver for some.. to know you are not being neurotic or imagining things to know that the behaviour is not normal, and you don’t have to second guess yourself”. This gave me the support to know, “yes you can do it.”

To find our more about volunteering opportunities within First Light visit: https://www.firstlight.org.uk/volunteering/

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Barclays extend Helpline in Cornwall:

A huge THANK YOU to Barclays UK. Barclays’ £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package has extended Cornwall’s Safer Future Helpline into the evenings and weekends. Anyone seeking advice and support for themselves or concerned about anyone else can now call:

0300 777 4777 Monday to Friday 9am – 9pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm

 The increase in helpline staff has meant we have been able to answer an average of 97% of all calls made to us, ensuring we are able to provide the help, safety advice and support to callers when they most need it.

A Safer Boardmasters:

The Safer Spaces tent at Boardmasters over the festival weekend provided a safe place where festival goers could report incidents, talk about a previous experience or ask questions. Our team were on hand helping to confront and prevent sexual violence, abuse and harassment at Boardmasters.

Domestic Violence in the LGBT+ Community:

Thanks to additional funding we are recruiting for a dedicated LGBT+ Independent Domestic Violence Advisor to lead on the Safer Rainbow Project in Partnership with Intercom Trust. Apply here.

MP visits Swindon and Wiltshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre:

On Friday 20th August, Rt Hon Robert Buckland, the MP for South Swindon, Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice visited the Swindon and Wiltshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre to meet the staff who deliver the service, to thank them for their work and to ask questions.

Coming to an event near you…

Par Market and Food Hall – Saturday 11th September 2021

Pop down and say hello to us at Par Market and Food Hall in St Austell between 9am – 5pm on Saturday 11th September. Our team will be on hand providing information and raising vital funds.

Freshers Weeks

Starting or returning to university or college this autumn? Visit our team at the following Freshers Fairs taking place in September, to join in the conversation about staying safe and heathy relationships:

Wednesday 22nd – Friday 24th September – Plymouth University
Wednesday 22nd September – Bicton College
Thursday 23rd September – Duchy College Rosewarne 
Friday 24th September –  Cornwall College Newquay 
Tuesday 28th September –  Cornwall College St Austell 
Wednesday 29th September – Cornwall College Camborne 
Thursday 30th September  – Duchy College Stoke Climsland 

Fabulous Fundraisers

Sophie completed a staggering 480km run of the Cornish Coast Path over the summer raising vital funds for our work. Sophie’s crowdfunding page is still open if you want to congratulate her achievement… https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/conquercoastpath

· Amanda and Jill are undertaking a breathtaking 25k hike across the Brecon Beacons in September to raise awareness and funds. Wish them well at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amanda-wills1 and http://www.justgiving.com/Junilda

First Light staff and their families undertaking the 5k inflatable obstacle course race in Exeter in October. Show your support by sponsoring Team First Light at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamfirstlight

Your support, changing lives

Jane* had two young children and had been in an abusive relationship for 10 years. Each time she tried to end the relationship, her partner became increasingly controlling and jealous.

“The support I received was phenomenal. It was instrumental in putting support mechanisms in place to ensure that I was safe and they also guided me through the minefield of steps/ processes that I needed to go through in order to do this longer term. Having someone on my side and emotionally supportive was so important to keep me going when things were really tough.”

Jane’s former partner is now addressing his behaviour as part of a community order. Jane hopes that in time, he will accept responsibility for his actions and build a meaningful relationship with his children.

*name changed to protect the identity of the family

Inspired?

At First Light we know there is much more we can do to support people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence across the South West. For inspiration on how you too can get involved and help change lives download our 100 Ways To Fundraise or get in touch with Cath at [email protected]

Vacancies:

Please find below all First Light vacancies with closing dates in September.

  • Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) – LGBT+
  • Community Outreach Advisor X 3
  • Domestic Abuse Support Advisor
  • Primary Care Support Coordinator
  • Helpline Response Team Advisor
  • Therapeutic Team Manager
  • MARAC IDVA
  • Self-Employed Counsellors – Children and Young People
  • Crisis Advocate
  • Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) x 2 – South Devon and North East Cornwall

Do you want to join our growing team? Apply here.