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Winter 2021 Newsletter

Message to supporters from  Lyn Gooding, Chief Executive:

Dear Supporter,

Due to your generosity, we have been busy recruiting new members of staff and volunteers to meet the increasing need for support. So far since 1st April 2021, we have supported 10,106 people who have reached out for our help.

We are particularly proud of our new Volunteer Peer Mentoring ProjectWe are delighted to close the gap in support for people affected by domestic abuse in Cornwall. An independent, listening and supportive mentor will be vital in helping many people move forward following abuse, whilst providing vital skills and experience for volunteers.

The 25th November to the 10th December will mark our 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse Campaign which aims to highlight the fact that domestic abuse can impact anyone of any age, gender, ethnicity or sexuality.  We will be working with partners, sharing messages, campaigns and opportunities for learning, which we hope, will be both thought provoking and educational. So please look out for our messages on social media and help spread the word across your networks to help create a place where we live in safety free from Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse.

Thank you for your support in 2021. Together we can create a safer South West, free of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Wishing our Supporters and Fundraisers a wonderful festive season.

Lyn Gooding, Chief Executive.

Service Focus: Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Swindon and Wiltshire

In each issue of our Supporters Newsletter we will focus on one of our key services. Within this issue we take a look at the impact of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Swindon & Wiltshire. Amy our SARC Manager was live on BBC Wiltshire talking about the impact of the significant rise in sexual violence reporting. Click here to listen to her interview.

Olivia’s Story

Olivia attended the Sexual Assault Centre following an assault that she had not reported to the Police. Our Crisis Worker listened and supported Olivia to fully disclose her experience. Armed with her choices she elected for a forensic medical examination. She also received emergency contraception and a sexual health clinic referral. Olivia was then able to take a shower and was provided with clean clothes.

Olivia had previously been diagnosed with depression and self-harm, therefore the Crisis Worker supported her in identifying coping strategies to protect her immediate safety. With her consent the Crisis Worker informed Olivia’s Therapist for longer-term support for trauma.

Our Crisis Advocate maintains regular contact with Olivia providing ongoing practical advice and emotional support. With this support Olivia has felt able to report her sexual assault, which is now an on-going Police investigation.

Our team will continue to support Olivia until she is ready and able to move onto other support services such as Splitz.

Christmas Opening Hours Across our Services

Please note – SARC will continue to operate 24/7 throughout this period.

Helpline Telephone Number: 0300 777 4777

(BH = Bank Holiday)

Supporting First Light this Christmas

Whatever you buy and for whoever you buy for, make a difference this Christmas to thousands of lives across the South West. Here are some of the ways you can support First Light which doesn’t need to cost you a penny:

Give As You Live – Shop online at thousands of stores who will donate a % of your basket to First Light. Stores include M&S, ebay, Sainsburys, Tesco, John Lewis, Boots, ASOS, Debenhams, Argos and many more. To create your online account and donate: https://www.giveasyoulive.com/

Amazon Smile – Shop through the ‘smile’ portal of Amazon ad they will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to First Light. Use your existing Amazon account at https://smile.amazon.co.uk/

Don’t Send Me A Card – Save on postage and your carbon footprint by sending charity e-cards this Christmas in aid of First Light, visit https://www.dontsendmeacard.com/

Cornish Christmas Giving Catalogue 2021 – Provides an opportunity to give a gift of hope this Christmas by giving a charity gift certificate to friends and family. To give to First Light in lieu of presents or cards visit: https://cornwallindependentpovertyforum.com/cornish-christmas-giving-catalogue-2021/

Co-op Community Fund Partnership

Over the next year we are working with Co-op Local Community Fund to raise vital funds for our work in Cornwall and Plymouth. We are encouraging all our supporters to become a Co-op members and select First Light as your cause. For every £1 spent on selected Co-op branded products and services, 1p will go to First Light.

To get your membership click here.
To select First Light as your cause visit:

Support our Children & Young Persons Therapy service in Plymouth – https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/56436

Support our domestic abuse and sexual violence Volunteer Mentoring in Cornwall – https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/56484

Mobile connectivity for victims

First Light has teamed up with Cornwall Community Foundation, Devon Community Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and Tesco Mobile Little Helps Scheme to provide mobile phones and sims for domestic abuse and sexual violence victims fleeing without a phone or those which have had their phones retained by Police as evidence. The scheme will provide vital connectivity for people when they most need it.

Domestic Abuse Mentoring Service

Thanks to a range of funders including Ecclesiastical Insurance and Duchy Health Charity, First Light are delighted to launch a new volunteer led listening and mentoring service for people in Cornwall who have experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence.  So far this year we have recruited 10 new volunteers and now have 12 Volunteer Mentors, including our existing Volunteer Mentor who piloted the project last year. They are currently providing a telephone listening support service to 45 adults who have suffered domestic abuse, the following comment is from one of our brilliant volunteers and clearly illustrates the value of this new service. … she had never spoken to anyone before and always bottled everything up.  Couldn’t stop her today, she wanted to get everything out and was awaiting our call.  I asked her if she had ever considered counselling and she said she didn’t need it and said talking to a mentor was what she needed. All people need sometimes is a chance to think they are being heard isn’t it?”If you or anyone you know has been impacted by domestic abuse or sexual violence that might benefit from mentoring, please contact our Helpline on 0300 777 4777.To get involved as a volunteer mentor contact Kate at [email protected] or visit https://www.firstlight.org.uk/volunteering/

16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse

Simple ways you can Take Action:
Take part in one of the many webinars over the 16 days
Help spread the word by sharing our social media posts
Donate or make a regular gift, allowing us to each and support more people affected by violence and abuse.

Job vacancies

Please find below all First Light vacancies with closing dates in December and January. Vacancies are posted regularly on our website.

  • Helpline Response Team Advisor (evenings and weekends) – Closing Date – 9:00am Monday 13th December. Click here to view.
  • Child and Young Persons Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (CYP ISVA) – Closing date –  9.00am Friday 3rd December 2021. Click here to view.
  • Helpline Response Team Advisor (day time) – Closing date – 9:00am Monday 13th December. Click here to view.
  • Domestic Abuse Team Leader x 2 – Closing date – 09:00am  Tuesday 4th January 2022. Click here to view.
  • Finance Officer – Closing date – 09:00am Monday 10th January 2022. Click here to view.

Would you like to join our growing team? Apply here or by clicking on the links above.

Lyn Gooding features on ITV News West Country issuing advice on how to keep yourself safe whilst out at night.

Last night Lyn Gooding, First Light’s Chief Executive featured on itvwestcountry issuing advice to people on how to stay safe in light of the tragic events that occurred in Plymouth on Tuesday.

Click the link to view the ITV article and video – https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2021-11-24/we-will-honour-bobbi-anne-vigils-and-womens-safety-marches-planned

Lyn Gooding said Bobbi-Anne’s case is “absolutely devastating”.

“The family of that young girl must be devastated right now; our heart goes out to them. Nothing people can do or say can make them feel any better at the moment,” she added.

“The community of Plymouth, I send my heartfelt condolences.”

Speaking of what steps women could take to try and ensure their safety in the winter months, Ms Gooding said: “First and foremost, I would like to say that it shouldn’t be women and girl’s responsibility to make themselves feel safe. It is the usual tips at the moment.

“Let people know what your plans are and what times you expect to be in places.

“Also, plan your route and make sure you stay in brightly-lit public areas. If you are going long distance maybe try booking a taxi service. Always carry an alarm.

“Another thing I would say is that do not be afraid to draw attention to yourself if you feel like you are in danger.

“Always look for other people if you are really worried. Make noise and call-out, and that may actually put somebody off if they are contemplating causing you harm.”

‘There are lots of apps out there that can help you feel safe’

She added there are a number of ways using your phone could help people feel more comfortable, saying apps could provide more security.

Hollyguard is a good app so consider downloading one of those to make you feel safe, and if you really feel in danger, don’t be afraid to call the police.”

16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse

The 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse Campaign commences on 25 November each year, running through to 10 December. The Campaign spans across these 16 days as there are poignant events that take place within the specific time period, including International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which is on day one as well as Human Rights Day which is on day 16 of the campaign.

First Light will be supporting this year’s campaign, and our main aim is to raise awareness about domestic abuse across the South West, with a focus that it does not affect a specific age, gender, ethnicity or sexuality.

At First Light we provide Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Support for All.

Throughout the 16 Days our website and Social Media Accounts including Facebook, TwitterInstagram and LinkedIn will be filled with posts featuring information about where to access help and support, links to webinars to widen your knowledge about domestic abuse, case studies and so much more.

Safer Futures

At First Light, we deliver the Safer Futures service which was launched in July 2018 as the commissioned support service for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We deliver the service in partnership with Barnardo’s, and it is funded by Safer Cornwall.

Across the 16 Days you will be able to get to know specific First Light staff members that support individuals affected by domestic abuse – including our Domestic Abuse Support Advisors, members of our Helpline Response Team, our Volunteer Mentors and much more.

Webinars
During the campaign you will have the opportunity to join webinars discussing varying topics associated with domestic abuse. If you are interested in attending, please be sure to register in advance (only essential for certain webinars with restricted numbers) and make sure you make a note of the timings in your calendars.
  • Monday 29th November 2021 – 10:30am – 12pm:  Faith and VAWG Coalition’s ‘Building Bridges’  conference – .For more information and to register for your tickets, click here.
  • Tuesday 30th November 2021 – 2:30pm – 4:30pm: Bystander Webinar – Graham Goulden. Unlimited attendees – Please email [email protected] to register your interest and you will be sent details of the meeting sign in (Zoom).
  • Wednesday 1st December 2021 – 1pm – 4pm: “Best Practice in Working with Child Survivors of Domestic Abuse”. For more information and to register click here.
  • Thursday 2nd December 2021 – 1:30pm – 4:30pm: Did you know that animals are often used by perpetrators to coerce and control human victim-survivors of domestic abuse? To join members of Refuge4Pets, Cats Protection Paws Protect, Dogs Trust Freedom Project, and Endeavour all offer specialist animal fostering services to people fleeing domestic abuse at a webinar sign up here.
  • Friday 3rd December 2021 – 1:30pm – 2:30pm: The Us Too Team – ARC webinar. The Us Too team is a group of women with learning disabilities, autism or both all of whom have experienced domestic abuse/sexual violence. The team used their experiences to develop and deliver training packages for their peers, social care professionals and DA/SV services. In this webinar the team will discuss how the project came about, the training and resources they have developed, and premiere the project video. Join here.
  • Wednesday 8th December 2021 – 10am – 11:30am: “Introduction to Gender-Based Violence for Schools”. For more information and to register click here.
  • Friday 10th December 2021 – 10:30am: Alexis Wright Webinar. Click here to join.

Safer Cornwall

You can also support Safer Cornwall’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign.

Their programme of events includes online webinars around ending femicide, domestic abuse and the workplace, the launch of our Tackling Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (DASV) champions network, and training on how to be an ‘active bystander’ and keep people safe from abuse. Please find the links to Safer Cornwall’s webinars below.

Day 1 – Thurs 25 Nov, 2pm – Ending Femicide (online) https://bit.ly/end-femicide

Day 2 – Fri 26 Nov, 11am – ‘Active Bystander’ training for pub and bar staff Falmouth (Mango’s Falmouth) https://bit.ly/bystander-fal21

Day 6 – Tues 30 Nov, 2pm – Info Session: Launch of Cornwall DASV Champions Network https://bit.ly/DASVCs

Day 7 – Weds 1 Dec, 12-3.30pm – Falmouth Town Safer Streets / VAWG Pop-up Event (The Moor, Falmouth) no booking necessary

Day 9 – Fri 3 Dec, 2pm – Domestic Abuse and the workplace – are we doing enough to support colleagues working from home? https://bit.ly/DAworkplace

Day 13 – Tues 7 Dec, 11am – ‘Active Bystander’ training for Falmouth pub and bar staff (Mango’s Falmouth) https://bit.ly/bystander-fal21

Day 16 – Fri 10 Dec, 2pm – VAWG around the world https://bit.ly/VAWG-world

Thurs 16 Dec, 2pm – Don’t be a bystander, Building Moral Rebels with Graham Goulden, Cultivating Minds UK- https://bit.ly/moral-rebels

Please keep an eye our Social Media accounts across the 16 Days and always, as the pages are always kept up to date with the latest information, updates on news stories across the United Kingdom, First Light Job Vacancies and so much more.

Please share our content with your friends and families if you feel comfortable doing so, spread the word and help us with our vision to create a place where we live in safety free from Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse.

Thank you to Tesco Mobile Little Helps programme for donating six mobiles and pre-paid sim cards.

We would like to thank Tesco Mobile for donating six mobiles with pre-paid sim cards for three months as part of their Tesco Mobile Little Helps programme.
 
It will enable the team of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors to provide clients with mobiles in times where their own phones have been taken or are not safe to use. This will mean they can continue to contact support organisations like ourselves and also reach out to the police if needed.