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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.