07:46PM, Sunday 25 July 2021
A domestic abuse charity may have to stop taking extra referrals in the future due to the impact of the COVID pandemic on finances and workload.
Last week the ’Tiser reported on comments made at a council meeting by Dash (Domestic abuse stops here) CEO Alison Bourne, where she warned the charity could ‘close our doors’ following an increase in adult and child referrals during the pandemic.
Ms Bourne has since clarified that although the charity is not looking at closing its doors for good, it may have to turn away referrals it would usually accept.
She said: “We are only paid by the Royal Borough to take so many cases a year but we’ve always taken on every client – children and adults.
“Last week we said we may have to say no that’s it [once it reaches capacity], we haven’t historically done that but the team are exhausted, it’s relentless.”
The charity gave up its office in Slough to fund another support worker but is now without a base.
Alison added: “It's really tough, I’ve got a house but we have people working out of their bedrooms and with COVID many of the cases are more complex because they’re stuck at home with the perpetrators and find different ways of contacting us.
“My team are having these awful conversations out of their bedrooms or kitchens. We don’t need a big space just somewhere we can have team meetings to see each other.”
She said the charity could also do with a hub for children where they can offer therapy, toys and books for those who witness or experience abuse.
Alison said for the last three years the charity has had a deficit in funding with the exception of last year when extra Government grants were made available due to the pandemic.
It is on track to have another deficit this year.
She said it was unlikely the charity would receive more funding from the council at this time due to financial pressures local authorities are facing up and down the country due to the pandemic but praised Cllr Stuart Carroll (cabinet member for social care, children’s services, health and mental health) for the support he had given them.
Alison added: “We have two people fundraising for us part time looking at what grants are out there but with austerity and the pandemic more and more charities are going after fewer pots of money. It’s tough.
“One of the things your readers could do is by donating just £10 a month. Where people might spend a coffee, just give up one coffee a day and donate it to us, it really helps.
“£1 goes such a long way, our finance manager keeps us on our toes and there is no fat to trim at DASH. We are a small local charity and support local people from all walks of life.”
Visit www.thedashcharity.org.uk to donate.
W Dash was awarded £3,000 from the Louis Baylis Trust in the latest round of donations.