Young people get creative at an activity session organised by Safeline which included hand painting and cake baking.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Warwick-based charity which works to prevent sexual abuse and to support affected survivors has been given a helping hand by the Heart of England Co-operative Society.

Safeline, which operates across Warwick and Stratford, was awarded £2,500 from the sales of 5p carrier bags from Society food stores in the area.

It is part of a government scheme introduced in 2015 to reduce the use of the single-use bags and often the resultant litter.

Safeline will put the money towards general funds.

The surprise windfall comes after shoppers at The Co-operative food stores operated by the Society, in Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, were asked to vote for one of 15 charities in the area to receive a share of £25,000.

With the second highest number of votes among customers in the Warwick area, Woodloes Park Community Centre Youth Club in Warwick received £1,500, while Action for Children received £1,000.

First established in 1994, Safeline offers face-to-face, online and telephone counselling, creative therapies and group therapies, personal and social development programmes and one-to-one support for vulnerable children and young people.

There are also separate helplines and online services for men, women and young people, as well as practical and emotional support when reporting abuse to the police, and training services for parents and professionals supporting survivors.

Neil Henderson, Chief Executive of Safeline, said: “We are so grateful to the customers of the Heart of England Co-operative Society for choosing Safeline to receive £2,500 of unrestricted funding.

“Unrestricted funding is so important to a charity like ours – it allows us to be more responsive and flexible which has been vital in enabling us to deal effectively with the impact Covid-19 has had on people living with the effects of sexual violence and abuse. Unrestricted donations help us to be forward-thinking and to adapt to the changing needs of the people we support.”

He added: “The donation to Safeline is an investment in our staff, our organisation and most importantly our clients, and will contribute towards the maintenance of our free, specialist counselling and group support for survivors and their families during the current period and beyond.”

Government statistics show that in 2014 customers used more than 7.6 billion single-use bags, equating to 61,000 tonnes or 140 bags for every person in Britain.

After the levy was introduced in 2015 sales of the bags in major supermarkets fell by 86 per cent, equating to just 19 bags per person in 2016/17.

By 2018 the number of bags sold had further fallen, with 1.75 billion sold during the year.

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