Need for abuse charity increasing during lockdown

Just Regional
Apr 24, 2020 3 mins read

In a normal week, Lorraine Saunders helps women and men who are victims of domestic abuse – finding them help and support, a place to live and raising money through her charity shop.

But these are not normal weeks. Families are forced together in less than perfect circumstances and the calls for help, both emotional and practical, have increased during lockdown, which is making a difficult job even harder.

Among the 35 calls made each week to her Sprowston-based charity, Dawn’s New Horizon, are from people subjected to verbal and physical abuse from their partners and those who feel their children are at risk from a violent partner.

There are also pleas for help from families who are unable to get basic food, toiletries and nappies – and Lorraine and her team have added food parcels to their to-do list.

The shop, in Cannerby Lane, has had to close, but it has become the central hub to store and sort the 60-or-so food boxes which are put together every week to be delivered to families who have been referred for their assistance.

Donated food and boxes which are being delivered all around Norfolk. The charity is looking for help with storage.

“It’s heart-breaking and scary,” said Lorraine, who is still doing her best to get people rehoused and looked after wherever possible. “They call and ask what can they do and where can they go? All the refuges are full, and they can’t just leave…”

Local shops, residents and organisations have been very generous with donations – including deliveries from Norfolk Fire Service and Norwich City Football Club.

Sacks of potatoes are delivered by Norfolk Fire Service.

“The fire service delivered 20 sacks of potatoes and they have a community project at the football club,” said Lorraine. “We were nominated so they asked if we wanted anything and they brought 20 boxes. They were gone in two days and they next week they said ‘ok, then we’ll give you 40’!”

Boxes of food delivered from Norwich City Football Club to be sent out to those in need.

This week the charity has been awarded a Norfolk Community Foundation grant which means it can help even more people, using the money to buy food and PPE and to fund one-to-one sessions where needed.

“We have even been able to give some of the parcels away to other organisations so we can help them too,” said Lorraine.

And while the need is there, and donations keep flooding in, what Lorraine and the team really need is storage space for all the donated items and boxes and a place they can pack them all up.

“We are hoping someone might have some empty space or a building we could use,” she said. “It would make such a big difference.”

Anyone who can help with storage can call Lorraine on 07854 044680. If anyone needs urgent help regarding domestic abuse they can call the helpline on the number above or click here to access the website.

The shop is open to take donations between noon and 3pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

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