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First Light’s Domestic Abuse Helpline sees a 27% increase in calls during Pandemic.

First Light extended the operating hours of our Domestic Abuse Helpline as a result of rising calls during the pandemic.

Supported by Barclays, the longer hours until 9pm weekdays and on Saturdays has allowed many more people to access vital help and support. The number of calls rose by 27%, with the charity Helpline handling a staggering 14,478 calls over the last year.

On the expansion of Cornwall’s Domestic Abuse Helpline Lyn Gooding, First Light’s Chief Executive Officer said “It’s imperative to us that when that person has decided to make that brave decision to call us that we are there to answer that call. We are incredibly grateful to Barclays who have enabled us to expand that support.”

To meet the needs of communities as they emerge from the pandemic, Barclays supported First Light with a donation through its 100×100 Programme, as part of its wider £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package enabling the charity to widen access to help and support for thousands of people whose lives have been impacted by trauma in Cornwall.

With a larger team and longer operating hours, the Helpline Team are now able to spend more time with each caller, giving them the time and space to fully disclose their abuse. The Helpline Team also provide advice and support to family, friends, colleagues and other professionals who may suspect that domestic abuse or sexual violence is taking place.

3,144 individuals experiencing abuse received advice and were supported directly by the Helpline Response Team. A further 7,471 individuals were supported into longer-term crisis or recovery support services.

As a direct result of the success of the extended hours, the charity has now secured further funding from Safer Cornwall to continue evening and weekend support for another two years.

Commenting on the announcement, Nigel Higgins, Barclays Chairman, said: “Our 100×100 charity partners have been working tirelessly to support vulnerable communities across the UK through what has been a difficult time. These charities have championed a range of causes, including tackling homelessness, food poverty or loneliness, and we are immensely grateful for their work in the communities in which we live and work.

“It is evident that the effects of the pandemic will continue to be felt by many for some time to come. Our decision to extend our 100×100 Programme for a second time reflects this, allowing Barclays to support 250 UK grassroots charities in their crucial work in our local communities.”