Celtic FC Foundation’s Christmas Appeal is gathering pace, and our spotlight series continues with an in-depth look at a charity carrying out vital work this winter, Glasgow Women’s Aid.
For over 35 years, Glasgow Women‘s Aid (GWA) has supported women, children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse. With provision shaped by the experiences of women and children, GWA offers urgent interventions for women and children, as well information and access to support services, ongoing care, and temporary refuge accommodation.
The charity is a long-standing partner of Celtic FC Foundation’s Christmas Appeal, and GWA CEO, Anna Devine, spoke of the crucial support the organisation has received over the years, saying:
‘Celtic FC Foundation have donated toys at Christmas to us for many, many years which has been amazing. We received a lot of help last year, because as well as receiving toys, we were nominated to be a charity beneficiary and received a monetary donation.’
“The toys make the difference for kids having an awful Christmas when they come into refuge from domestic abuse – giving them something that really makes them smile. We also used the money to distribute vouchers to families so they could go out and buy a traditional Christmas meal for themselves, as well as those little extras.”
The global pandemic has put enormous strain on organisations across the country and this has forced GWA to juggle resources to combat the scourge of domestic abuse. Anna said: “It’s been a challenge. We continue to provide support for domestic abuse victims, the issue hasn’t gone away – or even grown, it’s just a bit more visible – and we’ve had to adapt our services.
“Financially, it’s challenging as, being the largest Women’s Aid organisation in Scotland, we have a lot of refuge spaces. There’s been a 40% increase in our telephone crisis support helpline, and we’ve had to put more staff on this and extend the hours. We are still running our drop-in services digitally and all our core services are still operating in an environment where you’re cautious of limiting infection – so we’ve brought in additional policies and procedures to help this effort.”
For those fleeing domestic abuse, Christmas can be an exceptionally painful time of year, as victims struggle with the dilemma of leaving home in urgent, often turbulent, circumstances. Anna highlighted the various obstacles facing victims as well as GWA’s ongoing efforts to remedy the consequences of unforeseen displacement, adding: “Christmas is difficult for people to be away from home, and this is especially true for people experiencing domestic abuse. As well as that, people often have to leave their homes, all their possessions, and in some cases, gifts they may have already bought.
“As an organisation, we are continuing services despite extended lockdowns and the complications of self-isolation for women and children living with domestic abuse. Despite all this, we are trying to make sure women feel safe, less isolated and supported through really difficult times.”
Celtic FC Foundation’s contribution to organisations like GWA is made possible by the generosity of supporters everywhere, and the significance of this goodwill can never be understated. Anna echoed this view, saying:
“There aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to thank Celtic FC Foundation. It’s been a vital lifeline to GWA and for the women and children. Basically putting a smile, not only on the children’s faces, but also the mothers’ and carers’ faces.
“It’s providing the nice part of Christmas and every child should have that. It makes a difference to thousands of families every year.”
Through the Celtic FC Foundation Christmas Appeal, we want to help hundreds of local families, giving them the kind of Christmas most of us take for granted. With lots of food on the table and gifts for the kids. Making sure Santa pays a visit on Christmas Eve, despite COVID-19.
We also want to support pensioners on our doorstep, by lending a hand at a difficult time of year. Local charities need our help too. We can make a massive difference to the lives of children, refugees, the homeless and those living in refuge.
Further details on the Christmas Appeal phase of the Football for Good Fund and how you can get involved, can be found HERE
The generosity and compassion of the Celtic Family is truly unique and unrivalled and we thank you for your magnificent support.