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CRiTiCALL urge locals to support second collection day for Women’s Aid and Refuge

CRiTiCALL Drogheda
The Drogheda Women and Children’s Refuge team receiving some of the donations from the CRiTiCALL collection on Saturday July 11. Photo Credit: Louth Volunteer Centre.

A second donation day will take place in Dundalk and Drogheda tomorrow (Saturday August 8) where people can purchase and donor critical and necessary goods to those impacted by domestic abuse – in aid of Drogheda Women’s and Children’s Refuge and Women’s Aid Dundalk.

Originally launched in Dublin, CRiTiCALL was launched in Louth last month to support women and children in the area by facilitating the donation of critical goods to those that need it most. It aims to ensure that when people are ready to make the courageous step to leave an abusive situation, support providers have every resource to hand to support them in their recovery and  pathway to a new, safe life.

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The scheme, run by Louth Volunteer Centre with assistance from SAFE Ireland and Scouting Ireland, was a huge success in July and now organisers are making a second call for donations.

Speaking about their first donation drive took which took place on Saturday July 11, Louth Volunteer Centre manager Grainne Berrill said the generosity of local people really shone through. “We were unsure how things would go on our first collection day but we were blown away by people’s generosity and willingness to give their time to this cause.

“We were also delighted that we were able to take the burden off the team on our local abuse services as they tell us what their clients need, such as bedding or other household items. We communicate this to volunteers who collect those items.”

The CRiTiCall partners, such as the local St. Oliver’s Scouts and reliable volunters such as Ann McVeigh, then check over the donations and pack them in accordance with the needs of Refuge clients.

“[This is] so women who have taken the brave step of leaving an abusive situation get what they exactly what they need and when they need it,” Grainne added.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown, there has been a marked increase in domestic abuse across the country with Gardai reporting a 25-30% increase in domestic attacks during the lockdown. Advocacy groups say that the number of instances of domestic abuse is, in all probability, much higher. Gardai in Dundalk have recorded 276 domestic instances so far in 2020 – as of July – where an offence was committed, up 35% on the first six months of the previous year.

Donors will first need to register with Louth Volunteer Centre who will give a list of donation items that donors can select from and issue a time slot for making their donation to ensure that all Covid-19 social distancing and contact tracing measures are followed.

Volunteers from local Scout Troops will manage the collection centre and distribution of donations to where local charities, such as Drogheda Women’s and Children’s Refuge and Dundalk Women’s Aid, feel they are most needed. To make an donation, click here and then click ‘Register Interest’ at the bottom of the page.

The CriTiCALL team would also be interested in donation/loans of storage crates to help with donation distribution. For more information on how you or your group can get involved go to www.volunteerlouth.ie or contact the Louth Volunteer Centre team at 041 980 9008, [email protected] or @volunteerlouth on social media.

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“Financial coercion is a big issue with abuse; when fleeing the home the person often does so with nothing and no access to money so unfortunately there is a continuous need to provide practical, basic items for these women and their families,” Grainne continued.

The collection day on Saturday August 8 will focus particularly on back to school items but they have also received a number of specific requests from local services for other items that they need from cleaning materials to electrical goods, such as a TV.

CRiTiCALL say that local domestic abuse services are continuing to report a surge in requests for help as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. They say the increase in public awareness through campaigns such as #StillHere, RTE Comic Relief and the Irish Women in Harmony video has had a positive impact of encouraging women to leave domestic abuse situations. However, the organisers state that the numbers of women leaving abusive situations has put a strain on resources.

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