As I hit the two year mark with my tenure as Chief Executive I reflect on the stark reality of the funding challenges that we face as a voluntary organization. It is old news that we have seen a decrease in funding and an increase in demand; what we are not focusing on however, is the impact that this has on victims, predominantly women and children, who are seeking help in a time of crisis.
As we reach our 40th year anniversary, it is with absolute determination that our wonderful, dedicated and award winning team continue to advocate for funding, specialist services and victims to ensure that we break the cycle of domestic abuse for families and are in a position to celebrate our 50th anniversary of service to our community.
Jayne Donnelly, Chief Executive
On 14 September 2016, The Dash Charity was awarded Charity of the Year by the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Councillor Mrs Sayonara Luxton at The Voluntary Sector Awards in Maidenhead.
Speaking at the ceremony, Andrew Green, Community Partnerships Co-Ordinator at the RBWM, said “The motivating factor for each and every member of staff at The Dash Charity is to know that their intervention, innovation or fundraising is making a difference to the lives of families in crisis. Their staff have an in-depth insight into the experiences and challenges faced by victims of domestic abuse within the Windsor and Maidenhead communities”.
Jean Sinclair, Chair of The Dash Charity Board, said “We are exceptionally proud of the Dash Team and the impact they have on the many service users affected by domestic violence, particularly at a time when resources are limited”.
It’s been a busy month for our Specialist Health IDVA, Caron, who recently delivered a talk to 50 women from the Muslim community via the RBWM Innovation Fund and Family Friends Partnership. She has also been working in conjunction with White Ribbon Australia to look at opportunities for developing an anti-abuse workplace accreditation program. Companies who may be interested in taking part in this meaningful scheme should contact Caron@thedashchartiy.org.uk.
Over the last few months, the Advocacy & Outreach team have also been conducting Domestic Abuse training sessions for social workers via Slough Borough Council’s Adult Safeguarding.
Finally, the A&O Team said goodbye to our specialist LGBT IDVA, Hannah, last month, who is going on maternity leave. The whole team at The Dash Charity send our best wishes for the birth of her first child, and hope to meet the newest member of the Dash Family very soon!
Our Refuge Team have just come out of a particularly busy summer holiday period with an activity timetable that included trips to Odds Farm, LEGOLAND and swimming, as well as arts and crafts sessions, a picnic and a fancy dress party!
Members of The Dash Charity Board recently attended a focus group held at one of our refuges, which gave our clients the opportunity to share their views and feedback on refuge services. This was a very insightful day for our trustees who rarely get to hear directly from our service users.
A team of volunteers from Biogen recently came to offer their support to our Refuge Team as part of their Care Deeply Day. They very kindly repainted our fencing panels and cleared weeds from the garden, providing our residents with a lovely refurbished space within which to enjoy the last few days of sun!
Since our last newsletter, Refuge Services have welcomed 12 new intakes to our safehouses and have safely moved 13 clients on to independent accommodation. We wish them all the best as they start new chapters in their lives beyond refuge.
In September the full office team participated in The Children’s Society ‘Seen & Heard’ Training spearheaded by our Children’s Services Manager, Tara, who has trained as a Seen & Heard Champion. . This national campaign captures the views of young people about what it’s like when you’ve ‘got something to tell’. The program is designed to build awareness about what young people need and want from professional services, which will help us to ensure that opportunities to end abuse aren’t missed.
Two more groups from NCS Slough’s ‘The Challenge’ camp supported The Dash Charity this summer. The young participants hosted a range of activities including sports days, awareness appeals and outreach hackathons to raise money for our core services.
We would like to share with you a thank you card received by our Children’s IDVA, Zaira, from two of her young clients. Their words show how far they have come throughout the course of their sessions with The Dash Charity in being able to recognise what they have been through and to move forward with a healthy mind-set.
The Autumn term of Freedom is now underway with two new groups running. Our groups in Langley and Burnham have ten new members each, and we are looking to start a third group in the coming weeks. We have seen some fantastic breakthroughs in the early sessions, and we look forward to supporting these women in their journey to recovery over the next two months.
The Dash Charity have recently signed up to a number of exciting new platforms which allow supporters to get creative with their fundraising methods. We’ll be launching on Give a Dinner Party and We Give It very soon, so keep an eye out for more information on how you can get involved.
In September our friends at O2 held a friendly cricket match to raise funds for The Dash Charity. The Network Support team went up against Network Design, with the result ending up nail-bitingly close!
Our Chuffed Helpline Crowdfunding campaign closed last month, having raised a total of GBP600 which will contribute towards funding our crisis call phone line which is vital for self-referrals and individuals seeking confidential advice or support. Although we did not hit our target, we were very pleased with the level of support, and would like to thank everybody who contributed for their generous donations. A special mention must go to Dr Sue Brook, a long-time supporter of The Dash Charity, who set up and managed the campaign on our behalf! We could not do the work we do without the support of volunteers like Sue, and we are so grateful for her time and compassion.
We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to our long-term supporters, Datchet Golf Club, who recently supported The Dash Charity through their Captain’s Day Charity Tournament!
The Dash Charity will be celebrating our 40th birthday in Windsor from 6.30pm – 8.30pm on Thursday November 17th. Join us for a glass of bubbles as we take you on a pictorial journey through our history and developments in women’s refuges over the last four decades. Please note that this is a registration only event. For more information or to RSVP email Olivia@thedashcharity.org.uk by Monday 14th November.
In conjunction with White Ribbon Day on Friday November 25th, The Dash Charity are hosting a Diversity Conference for industry professionals to meet and look at the ways we as a community can better cater to diverse and complex needs. For more information contact Claire@thedashcharity.org.uk
In conjunction with our Friends at Kidd Rapinet,The Dash Charity are participating in a live crowdfunding and networking evening on Thursday January 26th. Further details to follow.