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University Staff Donate Hundreds of Toys for Children to Women's Refuges

Staff and students at the University of Worcester have donated hundreds of toys for children spending their Christmas in women’s refuges.

The annual campaign, organised by the University’s Centre for Violence Prevention (CVP), this year saw more than double the number of games, toys and gifts handed over to West Mercia Women’s Aid than last year.

The organisation will distribute them to the three refuges it runs in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, which provide a safe place of shelter for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Karen Shannon, a refuge support worker for West Mercia Women’s Aid, said: “I don’t often get emotional, but when you see all this - it’s just amazing. This will make such a difference.

“There are women and families in these refuges who have nothing. Imagine leaving your house in your pyjamas and slippers and that’s it.

“For women in this situation, there’s the fear of what’s going to happen, where am I going to go, is somebody going to believe me and what’s going to happen to the kids?  They are worried about the children and think to put them first before anything.

“These gifts are helping women say ‘it’s going to be okay because we have got something to give the children, I don’t have to go back’.

“I also think because these are new toys it makes the women think someone’s out there who cares.”

Professor Liz Gilchrist, Head of the CVP, said research showed an increase in people suffering from domestic abuse situations at this time of year, with many people seeking help in the period just after Christmas and at New Year.

“The hard work of Centre staff has made this collection possible, as well as the generosity of staff, students and supporters of the University," she added.

“Our ethos as a centre is that we want to do research that’s of practical value and this activity really reinforces why we do the research we do.

“Hearing about the plights of these women motivates you to do better research because it does make a difference to understand the risks and the intervention work that can reduce the numbers of families who find themselves in this situation at Christmas.”

Anyone who would like to donate to West Mercia Women’s Aid can log on to www.westmerciawomensaid.org.