Christmas is a time for family. But what if your family had been torn apart by domestic violence?
Sadly, it is a reality which will be faced by many women and children fleeing abusive relationships over the festive period – but a newly-formed charity led by two Worthing women wants to help.
Best friends Jade-Shannon Patrick and Hayley Stoner co-founded The Daisy Chain Project, which gives free legal support to domestic abuse victims.
They have launched a hamper appeal to give to families staying in refuges across Sussex, and are working with charities which run them to make it happen.
Student lawyer Jade-Shannon, 24, from Tarring, said: “You are always hearing about the children’s charities and the animal charities, but you don’t hear about the men and women starting again from domestic violence.
“There is a spike at Christmas every year, whether that is because of the stress of the period or money worries, so that was why we wanted to start this appeal.”
The pair and their fellow trustees, Faye Shippam and barristers Simon Spence and William Skjøtt, asked people to donate hats, scarves, tinned food, children’s toys and toiletries and giftcards.
Full-time mother Hayley, 24, from Goring, will make the hampers before they are delivered by car to refuges across the county.
She said: “Any donation big or small will help. We have both said we couldn’t imagine just walking out of our homes with nothing, no money, and literally just what’s on your back.”
So far, Sainsbury’s has donated a £50 gift card to the cause, and Jade and Hayley said other supermarkets have expressed an interest.
Their families have also got behind the cause, with Jade’s grandparents Tony and Linda Parsons visiting a refuge in Bognor dressed as Father Christmas and an elf, and Hayley’s grandmother Trish Christensen getting The Meridian Short Mat Bowls Club involved.
To donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.