Norwich Lord Mayor helps give boost to domestic violence victims in Norfolk

Mayor making at City Hall in Norwich. Newly-elected Lord Mayor Keith Driver and Sheriff Graham Creelman.  Photo: Bill Smith for EDP Norfolk Mayor making at City Hall in Norwich. Newly-elected Lord Mayor Keith Driver and Sheriff Graham Creelman. Photo: Bill Smith for EDP Norfolk

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
2:50 PM

For almost 40 years, Leeway has been providing a lifeline for adults, children and young people across Norfolk and Suffolk who are victims of domestic abuse, either now or in their past.

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More than 8,000 people a year are helped by the charity, which provides a range of services including emergency refuges, services for children and young people, advocacy, male victim support and a telephone helpline.

But many more people could be helped now that the specialist organisation, which started in Norfolk in 1974 and Suffolk in 2009, has been selected by Norwich’s Lord Mayor Keith Driver and Sheriff Graham Creelman as their civic charity.

The newly appointed pair will raise money for the cause during their year in office, helping to provide a cash injection which has been warmly welcomed by charity bosses.

Mandy Proctor, chief executive officer for Leeway, said: “Being chosen as the civic charity is a real honour and Leeway would like to thank the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Norwich for their invaluable support.

“Last year, we had more than 8,000 cases alone in Norfolk and Suffolk. We offer a range of community services in Norwich giving individuals an opportunity to talk about their concerns around abuse issues affecting themselves and their children.

“Without increased public awareness the funds for our services will diminish, resulting in thousands of vulnerable people in Norfolk and Suffolk with no place to turn to.”

As well as providing the funds to help keep its services operating, including three refuges in Norfolk, it is hoped the close association with Norwich City Council’s civic office will help raise awareness about it and abuse in general.

Domestic violence does not just mean violent behaviour; abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological or financial.

It can take place in any relationship regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, wealth or lifestyle. Leeway works to help people so they can make positive changes in their lives.

Mr Driver said: “As Lord Mayor, I have chosen Leeway for my Norwich Civic Charity Appeal because domestic abuse is a growing concern.

“I understand the great work Leeway undertake to help families in potential danger. Hopefully working together, we can help reduce the unfortunate statistics, that on average two women are killed a week as a result of domestic violence.”

Mr Creelman said: “Leeway started life here in Norwich. And now it provides a vital service across Norfolk and Suffolk. It is a highly professional organisation. Leeway staff understand just how traumatic and destabilising domestic abuse can be, and they provide shelter and other assistance to parents and children in a truly caring way. As Sheriff I am proud to support them as the civic charity for this year.”

Leeway has three refuges in Norfolk with tenants living in secure flats with bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms, residents are only women and children ranging from babies to people in their 70s and all with very different experiences of domestic abuse, which have driven them to seek refuge with Leeway.

Staff are on hand at the charity 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are available to help residents with day-day living and to encourage independent living, from applying to jobs to helping with money management.

Funds raised will help contribute towards providing activities for families in the refuges, providing an all-important sense of normality to service users, whose lives in some cases have been turned upside down.

If you would like to donate to the Norwich civic charity 2013-14, please contact ‘The Norwich Civic Charity Appeal’, Civic Office, Norwich, City Council, City Hall, Norwich, NR2 1NH. Telephone: 01603 212081.

Leeway has put out a call for volunteers to be a part of this year’s procession in Norwich, contact Emily e.nudd@leewaynwa.org.uk if you can spare a few hours on July 6 between 4pm and 7.30pm.

Further information regarding Leeway’s services can be found at www.leewaysupport.org.uk or by calling 08452 412 171.

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