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First Light Voted as Venton’s Charity of the Year

In an inspiring start to 2024, First Light has been named Venton’s Charity of the Year through a public vote on social media. We are delighted to announce that, among five deserving charities, the people of Cornwall have chosen First Light to be the recipient of Venton’s support throughout the year.

Venton Conference Centre & Accountancy Practice, a prominent Newquay-based business, located just seconds away from the A30, has a diverse client base throughout Cornwall. The response from the communities of Cornwall was overwhelming, reflecting the deep-rooted support for First Light’s mission to provide assistance to those affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated in the voting process. It is truly heartening to witness the outpouring of support from the people of Cornwall,” remarked Lyn Gooding, CEO of First Light. “This nomination by the public and selection as Venton’s Charity of the Year is an honour that will significantly contribute to our efforts in reaching and supporting more individuals across Cornwall.”

First Light delivers the Safer Futures Service for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, offering integrated support to those impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence. The partnership with Venton is anticipated to strengthen these services, ensuring that the essential support reaches those who need it the most.

Lyn Gooding further expressed, “It is hard to put into words how honoured First Light and our team are to be nominated by the public and chosen as Venton’s Charity of the Year. This recognition is a testament to the impactful work we do across Cornwall, and Venton’s support will help us extend our reach and provide essential assistance to more individuals in need.”

Venton, dedicated to providing professional events and accountancy services, that are tailored to individual needs, aligns seamlessly with First Light’s commitment to supporting survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The partnership signifies a shared dedication to making a positive difference in the community.

Sophie Turton, Venton Conference Centre Manager, expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “The team at Venton are absolutely thrilled to be supporting First Light as our chosen charity of the year. The public’s response to our vote was utterly amazing and we were so pleased to see such a positive response!  It’s a first for Venton to partner with a Cornish charity and host fundraising events, however the team are buzzing with excitement and looking forward to working with this deserving charity, for what is set to be a great year for First Light and Venton alike.”

Healthy Relationships and Toxic Behaviours – LoveActually Campaign

Join the #LoveActually Campaign: Empowering Healthy Relationships and Combating Toxic Behaviours (#HRTB)

This new campaign aims to empower individuals to cultivate healthy relationships while raising critical awareness about sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Our primary goal is to create a collective impact. We want to encourage open conversations about healthy relationships and shine a light on toxic behaviours.

 

How You Can Get Involved:

  • Join our webinars: We will be hosting free webinars during February and invite you to come along.
  • Share Your Stories: Encourage your community to participate in photo-sharing.
  • Social Media: Use the hashtags #LoveActually and #HRTB to amplify our collective voice on social media platforms.

 

Free Webinars:

Book here for Modern Rape Culture*Thursday 8th February @10:00 to 11:00am – Delivered by First Light

Book here  for Explore the 10 Signs of a Healthy & Unhealthy Relationship*Monday 19th February 14:00 to 15:30 – Delivered by Barnardo’s

Book here for Training overview and introduction*Wednesday 28th February @10:00 to 11:00am – Delivered by First Light

*Please note, these webinars are not suitable for anyone under the age of 16.

 

We invite everyone to actively participate in the campaign by:

Share photos holding signs depicting what love looks like in a healthy relationship or what you love about your partner.

Let’s Spread Love and Awareness Together this February

By joining the #LoveActually Campaign, you become an integral part of a movement that strives to create positive change in our communities. Together, we can empower individuals, break the silence surrounding toxic behaviours, and foster a culture of love and respect.

 

For inquiries, collaboration opportunities, or if you are interested in hosting a webinar and want more information, please contact us at [email protected]

Let’s make February a month of positive change and empowerment. Together, let’s say #LoveActually!

First Light chosen as Program’s Charity of the Year

We are excited to share that First Light has been chosen as Program’s Charity of the Year for 2024. This collaboration follows the success of Program’s Safer Exeter campaign, launched in February 2023, which encouraged people in Exeter to intervene safely if they see harassment in a public space, and promoted free bystander intervention training, led by the Safer Exeter Partnership.

Caroline Orr, Marketing Director at Program, expressed the team’s commitment to positive impact, stating, “We are thrilled to be partnering with First Light. This is an incredibly important issue which we want to help tackle, and we look forward to contributing to the important work that First Light does for our communities.”

Program, an Exeter-based positive impact marketing agency, will extend their support to First Light by providing free brand, PR, and marketing services throughout the year. The aim is to increase the reach and impact of First Light’s crucial services dedicated to supporting women and girls in the community.

Lyn Gooding, CEO at First Light, conveyed gratitude for Program’s support, emphasising the shared goal of building a future free from domestic abuse and sexual violence. “Together, we are building a future free from domestic abuse and sexual violence, ensuring every voice is heard, and that our communities thrive in safety. This collaboration is more than just working together, it’s about making a real difference in tackling a crucial issue.”

Christmas Operating Hours

Swindon and Wiltshire Services

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) Service

The ISVA service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The ISVA service operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

 

Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

The SARC will remain operational over the Christmas period and will still be providing immediate support and aftercare for survivors of sexual violence.

Please note*

Our Crisis Workers will still be on call 24hrs a day, throughout the Christmas period, for advice or to book forensic medical appointments, on 01793 781917.

The SARC Office will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The SARC office operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

Devon Services

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) Service

The ISVA service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The ISVA service operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

Plymouth Counselling

The Plymouth Counselling service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December the service will be operating at reduced hours.

The Plymouth Counselling operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 10am to 3pm

Thursday 28th December 10am to 3pm

Friday 29th December 10am to 3pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

 

 

Cornwall Services

The Safer Futures service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December, our helpline will be operating during office hours only.

The Safer Futures operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 9am to 5pm

Thursday 28th December 9am to 5pm

Friday 29th December 9am to 5pm

Saturday 30th December 9am to 5pm

Sunday 31st December Closed

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

 

Safe Spaces

The Safe Spaces service will be closed on Monday 25th December and Tuesday 26th December for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Between 27th December to the 29th December, our helpline will be operating as usual.

The Safe Spaces operating hours.

Monday 25th December: Closed

Tuesday 26th December: Closed

Wednesday 27th December: 9am to 9pm

Thursday 28th December 9am to 9pm

Friday 29th December 9am to 9pm

Saturday 30th December 9am to 1pm

Sunday 31st December 1pm to 5pm

Monday 1st January 2024: Closed

All services will return to regular operating hours from Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

 

If you need urgent support, the following numbers are available 24/7 to help you.

National Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999

National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247

If you are in danger,

please dial 999 immediately, or 101 for non-emergency

Pledge4Change: 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women and Girls

#Pledge4Change: 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women and Girls

From November 25th to December 10th, we invite you to be part of the 16 Days of Action, a powerful campaign to end violence against women and girls. We are making three vital pledges, under the hashtag #Pledge4Change for the coming year. Violence has no place in our society, and it’s time to bring about lasting change. Join us, pledge your support, and let’s be part of the solution.

 

Pledge One: Create Change #WeSeeYou

Our first pledge focuses on raising awareness. We urge you to speak out against sexual and domestic violence and abuse. It’s time to challenge common misconceptions and myths surrounding these issues.

Let’s speak out on toxic attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence. By addressing these issues head-on, we can make a difference.

 

Pledge Two: No Voice Left Unheard #WeHearYou

Our second pledge is all about amplifying the voices of women and girls. We’ll share their stories, inspiring change, and challenging perceptions. By doing this, we can transform attitudes and make sure no voice goes unheard.

 

Pledge Three: Empower Everyone #WeBelieveYou

The third pledge focuses on creating safe spaces. We’re committed to supporting organisations in creating safe environments where victims of violence can disclose their experiences without fear.

We’ll provide resources, conversation starter packs, and support to empower you to talk openly about abuse and violence with your loved ones. We’re also forging new alliances and collaborations to ensure that everyone has access to the support they deserve.

 

Get Involved:

Here are some easy ways for you to get involved and make a difference during the 16 Days of Action:

Spread Awareness: Share our messages on social media. Your voice can reach far and wide, making more people aware of this critical issue.

Engage in Conversations: Talk about the importance of ending violence against women and girls with your friends and family. A simple conversation can have a profound impact.

Donate: Contribute to help us continue our work. Your support goes a long way in making our mission a reality.

Take the Pledge: Commit to supporting our three pledges or create your own and help create real change. By taking a stand, you become a part of the solution.

Stand with us during these 16 Days of Action and beyond. Together, we can ensure that everyone has the right to feel safe. Let’s put an end to violence and make the world a safer, more inclusive place for all.

Together, we can make a difference.

#Pledge4Change #WeSeeYou #WeHearYou #WeBelieveYou

Primary Care Service: Ending Abuse in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

There’s a powerful transformation happening behind the scenes in GP surgeries. First Light, an organisation committed to supporting those affected by domestic and sexual violence, is leading the way with a groundbreaking initiative that’s redefining the role of medical professionals in aiding victims. We’re excited to share the remarkable story of this pilot scheme that’s extended until 2025, ensuring that help is never out of reach for those who need it most.

The journey began two and a half years ago when we identified a crucial gap in the services provided by GP surgeries. We realised that this was a unique opportunity to connect with individuals who were suffering in silence, trapped by domestic and sexual violence. Julia Morris, a dedicated Domestic Abuse Support Advisor, explains, “A lot of the GPs admitted they don’t have the time to talk to people, and once they’ve asked that question, they haven’t got the confidence to know where to signpost people who are experiencing abuse.”

We decided to take action, and the results have been nothing short of transformative. By providing specialised training to health professionals, we equip them with the confidence to ask those difficult questions, making them aware of the extensive support available and streamlining the referral process. Julia adds, “So, they refer people into our service, we risk assess, meet with them, and move them onto the appropriate support.”

In 2022-2023, over 14,000 individuals reached out to us for support, this was a 15% increase from the previous year. Over 11,000 individuals were supported for domestic abuse and/or sexual violence in Devon and Cornwall alone. Anne Toms, Team Manager for Domestic Abuse at the Safer Futures service, includes, “I think the referrals speak for themselves because they’re constantly increasing, but the most important bit is that people are really engaging with us and being signposted off to recovery.”

As our program continues to grow, we are branching out into safeguarding efforts. We are now actively participating in critical meetings, such as the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference, as we drive our mission forward. This approach ensures that individuals not only receive immediate help but also have a support system in place for their long-term recovery.

Our training courses are designed to foster early intervention, enhance understanding, develop response skills, and provide support and guidance. Julia shares, “With a lot of people, we’ve made such a difference. They’re not accessing the GP quite so much because we’re actually tackling the cause, and the relationships with the GP clinics have been fantastic.”

In a world where countless individuals suffer in silence, our initiative is changing the narrative. Our profound impact is echoed by feedback from GPs, surgeries, and health professionals, who emphasise that this service provides a lifeline to those who may have never accessed support before. Julia sums it up beautifully, saying, “By this service, we’re giving those people a voice.”

As this pilot scheme extends until 2025, the future shines a little brighter for those who have suffered in silence for far too long. It’s a beacon of hope in Cornwall, one that reminds us that transformation is possible when we unite with a shared purpose – to protect, support, and empower those in need.

 

If you would like to learn more about our Primary Care training, contact us on:

0300 777 4 777

[email protected]

Safer Futures Helpline Lunch and Learn Webinar 28th November

We are holding a FREE Safer Futures Helpline Webinar on the 28th November that we would like to invite you to join. 

This Webinar will provide you with clear up to date information regarding the Helpline, the amazing work they complete, their referral processes and capabilities.

We will talk about when, how, and why to refer into Safer Futures and First Light through the Helpline, and what support the person you are referring in can expect.

This will be a Lunch and Learn session from 12:30 -1:30 so feel free to join with your cameras off, take your lunch whilst you watch, and have an opportunity to join in conversation or ask questions at the end.

On completion of the Webinar, you will receive an attendance certificate, as well as a leaflet detailing all the information we have shared, opportunities to access further training, tools such as referral guide and more.

We hope you can join us and learn more about our Helpline, Click Here to sign up.

Please share this with anybody you feel it to be relevant to.

 

 

 

Empowering Change: (Un)Healthy Relationships Conference in Cornwall

On Wednesday, October 11th, Safer Futures’ First Light was invited to participate in the “(Un)Healthy Relationships: Do Not Ignore the Signs” conference in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The event focused on preventing harm and addressing the root causes of unhealthy relationships, domestic abuse, sexual violence, and violence against women and girls. It was an enlightening and empowering day that emphasised the urgency of collective efforts to combat these issues.

The conference brought together a remarkable lineup of speakers, each dedicated to addressing the pressing issue of unhealthy relationships and violence against women and girls. Their stories, expertise, and insights shone a light on the need for sustained action in Cornwall and beyond.

Safer Futures’ Impactful Work

One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity for Safer Futures’ First Light to showcase the impactful work they have been doing. They shared the outcomes of their primary care pilot, a groundbreaking program that offers support to those affected by domestic abuse. The conference attendees were deeply moved by Caroline’s story, a brave survivor who used the GP referral program to escape years of domestic abuse, find safety, and reclaim her voice.

Caroline’s* story is a testament to the power of such programs and the strength of survivors. The Safer Futures Service, through their GP referral program, is providing a lifeline to those trapped in abusive relationships, offering a path towards healing and safety. Their work is invaluable in ensuring that no one suffers in silence and that there is a way out of abusive situations.

In addition to the GP referral program, Safer Futures also discussed their “Healthy Relationships Foundations Program,” which is delivered in partnership with Barnardo’s. This initiative aims to equip individuals with the tools and knowledge to foster healthy relationships and prevent violence against women and girls. Education and awareness are vital components of the fight against domestic abuse and violence, and this program plays a crucial role in achieving that.

The (Un)Healthy Relationships conference was a source of inspiration for all attendees. It showcased the dedication and passion of individuals, organisations and charities committed to making a difference. It also emphasised the importance of unity and collaboration in tackling the pervasive issue of unhealthy relationships and violence against women and girls.

The Road Ahead

As we reflect on this empowering event, it’s essential to recognise that the work is far from over. The stories shared at the conference, including Caroline’s, serve as powerful reminders that there is much to be done. Ending violence against women and girls and fostering healthy relationships requires sustained effort, awareness, and advocacy.

*Name changed to protect anonymity

BBC Spotlight – Lyn Gooding

In an interview on BBC Spotlight, Lyn Gooding, the Chief Executive of First Light, emphasises the importance of providing dedicated support to survivors, highlighting the key principles of belief, listening and support.

It is a tragic reality that many survivors have faced scepticism, doubt, and disbelief when sharing their experiences. First Light stands as a beacon of change, ensuring that survivors are heard and validated. Lyn Gooding shares the message that every survivor’s story matters, and their experiences will be acknowledged with compassion and belief.

Lyn highlights the support system that First Light offers. From considering physical and mental well-being to making informed decisions, survivors are not alone on this journey.

It is important that survivors are given the time they need to consider their options, whether to report or not. First Light’s approach recognises that each survivor’s journey is unique, and they are in charge of their decisions. This empowerment reinforces a sense of action, allowing survivors to take their own path.

Sexual abuse knows no boundaries, it is not confined to any particular gender, age, or background, anyone can be a survivor, and support is available to all who need it.

Watch the Full interview below: