Domestic abuse helpline continues to provide support to Hertfordshire victims and survivors thanks to bursary win

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Hertfordshire organisation says cash boost has been a 'huge benefit'

Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline is now able to continue providing vital support to service users, thanks to a £1,000 cash boost from CALA Homes North Home Counties’ community bursary scheme.

The organisation, which provides a confidential and anonymous free helpline, saw an increase in calls during the pandemic meaning that external funding was vital in keeping services available.

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Between April 2020 and March 2021, the helpline saw call numbers increase by 11 per cent, receiving 2,300 calls and emails over the past year.

Some of the volunteers for Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse HelplineSome of the volunteers for Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline
Some of the volunteers for Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline

Of these callers, two thirds were women and over a quarter were calls made by a professional on behalf of victims under their care.

Throughout the pandemic, the organisation found the training of new volunteer phone operators difficult, with training programmes needing to be restructured to be delivered online, a task which was supported by CALA North Home Counties’ bursary funds.

Christine Roach, Chair of the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline, highlighted that the grant win has been a ‘huge benefit to the organisation’.

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She said: “The cash boost has allowed the team to continue delivering the helpline’s services throughout the pandemic and providing support to those who have fallen victim to domestic abuse."

The organisation, which was first founded in 2002, hopes to eliminate domestic abuse through awareness and education, and to support those in need through its confidential listening and signposting service across Hertfordshire.

The helpline is available for confidential and free support for those affected by domestic abuse across Hertfordshire, whether a victim, a survivor, or a concerned friend or family member.

The line is open 9am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-4pm at weekends, and a confidential email is also available via [email protected].

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The Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline formed part of ten good causes across Hertfordshire which received a share of £20,000 from the homebuilder.

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Tring organisation among groups to receive share of CALA Homes' £20,000 Communit...

The scheme was paused in 2020 as a result of the March lockdown but was re-launched earlier this year to support groups and charities in need, particularly those which have been impacted by the pandemic.

The other local organisations receiving a share of the fund in Hertfordshire are:

> Tring Child Contact Centre

> The Hygiene Bank

> Headway Hertfordshire

> Rossway Riding Centre for the Disabled

> Former Players Club Watford

> Garden House Hospice Care

> Hitchin Town Marvels Under 8 Football Team

> Spins Pre-School & Toddler Group

> Wallfields Bowls.

Glenn Copper, regional director of sales and marketing for CALA Homes, North Home Counties, said: “The last 12 months have been particularly hard for the charity and volunteering sectors, with many seeing reduced funding at a time when local communities need their services most.

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“CALA aims to make a positive and lasting contribution to the communities in which we build and that’s more important now than ever.

"We know that this year’s Bursary will mean a great deal to the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline and the other charities selected and we can’t wait to follow their progress and see how the donations will make a real difference to local people.

“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply to the CALA Community Bursary this year and congratulate each and every one of them on the fantastic work they are doing within their communities.”