Financial support for survivors of domestic violence in North Devon

Martin Hitchcox, Supply Chain Manager for LiveWest, and Rhianne Osborne, Family Support Worker for the NDAADA

Martin Hitchcox, Supply Chain Manager for LiveWest, and Rhianne Osborne, Family Support Worker for North Devon Action Against Domestic Abuse - Credit: LiveWest

A housing association has stepped in with some financial support for survivors of domestic violence in North Devon.

LiveWest has provided £1,600 of Love2shop vouchers so that each family at the women’s refuge can buy food, clothes, toys or basic furniture for independent living.

Last summer LiveWest donated art packs and gardening materials to help families engage with each other and cope with lockdown.

Now the social housing provider has issued the vouchers to help vulnerable families experiencing financial hardship.

Rhianne Osborne, a Family Support Worker for North Devon Action Against Domestic Abuse, said: “So often when we have new clients into our refuge, they have had to leave very quickly and are only able to bring with them what they are able to carry.


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“This usually means that when they arrive with us, their whole lives are inside the suitcase they have with them.

“A huge part of the work that we do revolves around enabling our women and children to see their time in refuge as a fresh start where they can begin to rebuild the lives that they choose.

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“A significant part of this is emotional work, but also a huge part of this is sorting out the practicalities of starting your life from scratch - new home, new furniture, new clothes, new toys, the list is endless and can be very overwhelming for our women.”

Rhianne added: “Our refuge workers have learnt to be very resourceful when supporting our clients with obtaining new belongings, however this can often be very time consuming and inconsistent due to available resources and lack of finances.

“Donations, charity and contributions are a huge support in making this aspect of the work that we do possible.

“Being able to supply our families with vouchers would not only support with the practicalities of building a new home from scratch but importantly also offers our women and children the opportunity to choose their own items, a luxury that many of our families have never experienced.”

The refuge offers vital support services for families and single women who are fleeing in crisis due to domestic abuse and need a safe place to live after leaving an abusive relationship.

Residents have their own room that they share with their children and the rest of the living is communal (bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, TV room area and laundry facilities). There is access to a playroom and an outside space for families to use.

LiveWest, who are the landlord of the refuge, has issued more than £300,000 in crisis and hardship grants during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as more than £112,000 in community grants for community spaces and digital inclusion across the South West.

Alison Knight, Community Connector for LiveWest, said: “LiveWest is committed to investing in our communities and this is another way we can support customers living in our homes.

“We are delighted to be able to support these families living at the refuge who are rebuilding their lives and experiencing financial difficulties.

“These vouchers will allow them to buy basic provisions or buy household goods to work towards independent living for their families.”

Martin Hitchcox, Supply Chain Manager for LiveWest, said: “It is fantastic to see these vouchers we have negotiated through our supply chain being used in such a positive way to benefit vulnerable families who are living in our property.”

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