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Bawso Welsh Charity Receives £100,000 Donation

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Bawso contributes to the prevention of COVID 19 within specialist refuges and safe houses in Wales thanks to Barclays donation

Bawso, a registered charity based in Wales, with offices in Cardiff, Swansea, Merthyr, Wrexham, Caerphilly & Newport is one of 100 UK charities to be awarded a £100,000 donation from Barclays which will provide personal protective equipment for staff and victims and to deep clean its seven specialist refuges and two safe houses thereby preventing the spread of the virus and cross contamination within these shared facilities.

Charities were invited to apply for one of 100 donations of £100,000, and Barclays were inundated by hundreds of applications from charities across the UK who are struggling to deliver on-the-ground support to vulnerable communities impacted by the crisis.

Barclays launched their 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme to support COVID-19 relief work in local communities. The programme, which forms part of their wider COVID-19 Community Aid Package, focuses on supporting UK charity partners who are meeting the immediate needs of people in our communities, including low income families, those facing financial hardship, isolated elderly people and key workers.

Bawso’s CEO, Mutale Merrill OBE, says that

“The grant Bawso has received from Barclays Bank Community Relief Programme will go a very long way to help black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) victims of abuse and violence and the women and girls we support to keep safe in our refuges and safe houses during these challenging times.  We are so very grateful to Barclays for this help.”

Bawso is the lead organisation in Wales providing practical and emotional support to BAME community members and migrant victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking, Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage. It supports over 6,000 BAME women and girls and a number of men each year.

Nigel Higgins, Barclays Chairman, said:

“COVID-19 has created an unprecedented social and economic impact in the UK, with many experiencing greater hardship due to the crisis. Incredible charities, such as Bawso have been playing a vital role in the UK’s response to the pandemic, ensuring urgent help reaches those most in need of support. As a bank we have been doing all we can for our customers, clients and colleagues, and we hope that by partnering with Bawso and many other charities across the UK, collectively we can ensure that as many people as possible in the communities in which we live and work are supported through this crisis.”

The virus and accompanying lockdown have led to a significant increase in all forms of violence against women within BAME communities in Wales. The easing of restrictions enabled victims to seek help but the reintroduction of lockdown now means that perpetrators can again abuse without restraint and out of sight. The mental health of BAME victims is under extreme strain. It is more difficult than ever for victims to disclose their circumstances and more difficult for Support Workers to access victims and deliver face to face support. Language and a reluctance to approach statutory services always presents a barrier to disclosure and Bawso is seeking to deliver innovatory community-based services to make and maintain contact with victims and provide safe accommodation if required.

It is reported that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in England and Wales with 2 women on average killed every week by their male partners or ex-partners. A third of those who experience domestic abuse have considered suicide. 75% of domestic violence cases result in physical injury or adverse mental health consequences for the victims.

Survivors frequently tell Bawso that its support and advocacy has given them strength and hope for their future and for the future of their families and helped them re-build their lives, feel safer, and more confident.

To find out more about Bawso and donate to our work, please visit www.bawso.org.uk