Football

CHELSEA WOMEN’S PRIZE MONEY DONATED TO REFUGE – ‘THE BEST WAY TO DEMONSTRATE SUPPORT’ SAYS HAYES

As part of our ongoing campaign with Refuge, Chelsea will be making a further contribution to supporting women and children experiencing domestic abuse during the current coronavirus pandemic. The prize money for winning the 2019/20 Barclays FA Women’s Super League is being donated to the charity.

It was announced on Friday that Chelsea had secured the WSL title, based on a points-per-game basis. Emma Hayes and her squad were unbeaten throughout the season and had defeated title rivals in head-to-head games.

The prize for winning the Super League is £100,000 and the donation to Refuge, which was agreed by Chelsea Football Club and the Chelsea FC Women’s team, continues Chelsea’s significant support for the charity that began in April.

Reports indicate the current Covid-19 crisis has led to an increase in domestic abuse incidents due to the periods of isolation and lockdown. UK charity Refuge, the country’s largest single provider of domestic abuse services, provides specialist, confidential support to women experiencing domestic abuse. Chelsea Women are proud to have been at the forefront of promoting the club’s support for Refuge.

‘It’s a charity that’s close to the hearts and minds of the Women’s team, and is very important to our owner Mr Abramovich and everyone at the club,’ Hayes confirms. ‘It makes me proud our club is supporting those less fortunate in times of need.

Up until now our involvement was about supporting the campaign publicly with a call to action but we all wanted to do more than that and if donating our prize money can ease some of the concerns and worries people have then it’s the least we can do.

‘It’s an important message. It’s a campaign that’s really dear to us and the best way we can demonstrate our support further is by committing our prize money towards it and helping those in need.’

Sandra Horley, CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said:

‘We are incredibly grateful to Chelsea Women. Refuge has seen a huge increase in demand to its Helpline and website services during Covid-19 which has shone a light on the thousands of women who need our support across the country right now.

‘We are incredibly grateful to Chelsea Women for not only shining a light on domestic abuse, but also supporting us with a significant financial commitment – this is an incredible gesture. Every penny we raise helps Refuge to provide life-saving and life-changing specialist services.

The Covid-19 crisis has placed a huge financial strain on domestic abuse services and the generous support of Chelsea Women will help Refuge to ensure that no woman or child is turned away from safety.’

Supporters can make their own contribution to Refuge by donating here. Chelsea will match in amount any donation made.

Refuge provides a national network of specialist services which support around 6,500 women and children every day, including emergency accommodation, community outreach, independent domestic violence advocacy (IDVAs), culturally specific services and a team of child support workers.

Refuge also runs the Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, 0808 2000 247, which has seen an increase in over 60 per cent in demand during the pandemic.

The website www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk provides additional support information and an online form where women can request a safe time to be called back, as well as live chat support. This website has seen an increase of more than 950 per cent since the start of lockdown. These numbers demonstrate the sheer extent of need for domestic abuse services and these online methods of accessing support are especially important now when telephoning for help may be more difficult.

Women can also receive automated guidance via Refuge’s techbot on how to secure their devices. Please click for information on that.

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