‘Run, walk or cycle to help survivors of domestic abuse’

MK mum Emily Orchard explains in a special guest column how you can help her raise £4k for Refuge in response to ‘the shadow pandemic.’

The last year has affected everyone in so many ways and highlighted significant issues in our society that I hope can be addressed as we start to look forward to life after Covid.

One of the issues that has been so starkly highlighted and directly impacted by the pandemic is domestic abuse.

In Milton Keynes alone, 1 in 5 people have reported experiencing domestic abuse, and nationally its estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

Before the first lockdown measures were implemented in March 2020, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, logged on average 270 calls and contacts every day from people needing support.

Since March last year, Refuge has seen a record increase in calls and contacts while people have been trapped at home with their abuser. While of course lockdown doesn’t cause domestic abuse, it can aggravate pre-existing abusive behaviours.

Described as the shadow pandemic, the rise in domestic abuse has come at a time when fundraising has been made incredibly difficult for charities.

This has inspired me to step up to do what I can to support Refuge and I’ve committed to a challenging 10-day trek to raise funds to mark their 50th year of providing a lifeline to survivors of domestic abuse.

I have a target of £4,000 and as part of my fundraising I’m building a team of 100 supporters to pledge 3 miles for 3 survivors of domestic abuse in any way, place and time that they’d like.

When we reach our target, together we will have covered 1 mile to represent every single person who contacts Refuge’s helpline in just one day.

It is a £15 donation to enter and everyone who takes part gets a medal designed especially for this challenge.

We’re just over halfway there so far so there’s still time to get involved and show your support for survivors of domestic abuse.

To sign up, email me on emilytrek50@gmail.com or visit my Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/EmilyTreksForRefuge

Need domestic abuse support? Visit http://www.refuge.org.uk or http://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk (access live chat Mon-Fri 3-10pm), or freephone the confidential 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

This feature was published in the April and May 2021 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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