Takeover Tuesday – Refuge

Each week, we’re inviting one of the many charities or community groups in Stratford to takeover our social media for the day with a series of posts outlining what they are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic to show our support. The full case study will appear here on our blog.

This week, we hear from Refuge, who provide specialist support and advice for all those affected by domestic violence.

Here, Rose Neild, Trusts and Foundations Fundraising Executive, tells us how they have adapted their service as demand has increased during lockdown.

How have you adapted the services you provide during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Our refuge in Stratford has remained open throughout the pandemic and is continuing to accept new referrals. To protect our staff and the residents of the refuge, all face-to-face support is now being provided over the phone.  Urgent support and support from the children’s worker is compliant with social distancing and our staff have PPE. At the start of lockdown, our staff were equipped with the technology needed to work remotely, and we upgraded our cybersecurity to ensure the safety of survivor’s information.  We have not let social distancing prevent us from providing the essential safety, practical and emotional support survivors need to rebuild their lives after abuse.


What’s the key thing that has surprised/pleased you?

The way the staff and the residents have coped during the pandemic, with the restrictions and worked together so positively to ensure that no-one felt isolated.  The staff have linked in with the community hubs and ensured that all residents, where able, can access essential shopping and fresh food.  Local charities and community groups have been extremely supportive and have actively been in touch with staff to offer services and support.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing?

A significant challenge has been finding move-on accommodation for women who are ready to move to more permanent housing. We have also faced challenges in sourcing food and clothes for the women arriving at our refuge. Replacing items such as small electrical items, bedding and towels has been challenging and the staff have been very resourceful in accessing stockists to ensure availability.

Repairs and maintenance has been difficult and very resource intensive.  Thankfully at Stratford we have a pool of approved contractors who have continued to be committed to ensuring an emergency service

Can you give an example describing the impact you’ve made on an individual/group of people?

To make lockdown more enjoyable and comfortable for the women and their children, staff at the refuge upgraded the WiFi so that each flat had speedy connection. We were also able to purchase bikes and outdoor play equipment for the children, encouraging them to stay active and make the most of their time spent outside the refuge. This has had a huge impact on the wellbeing of the children in the refuge.

Facts about who you have helped and how

Since the start of April, we have supported 7 women (one pregnant) and 12 children in our refuge.

Support to increase safety and minimise risk, health outcomes, economic outcomes and social well-being outcomes.

What could the community in Stratford do to support you?

The community groups in Stratford need to continue to be supportive and raise awareness of the services available to people who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

Share key messages from Refuge and share the community safety social media pages as well as the Warwickshire police social media messages.


Useful info and contact details

Refuge’s 24 Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247

www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk – created by survivors and for survivors by Refuge. Includes a “contact us” form for individuals to request a call back at a safe time, and a new live chat.