How to Celebrate UK Charity Week in Coventry

This week is UK Charity Week, which aims to raise both awareness and money for charities in the UK. It is held every year, always on the first week of December, meaning this year it will end on the 10th December. With so many wonderful charities being based in Coventry, there is lots to celebrate during this week.

This year, one of Coventry’s very own charities has become an official partner of UK Charity Week. Coventry Haven Women’s Aid works to provide shelter to women and children who have had to flee their homes due to domestic abuse. The charity has eighteen units within safe houses dotted around Coventry, all of which are kept secret. They will also meet social workers, who will help them in the long-run, as well as finding them safe, temporary accommodation. There are so many services they offer for the after care of women in such a situation.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Coventry Haven Women’s Aid are unable to do what they had hoped for UK Charity Week, but Jaime Richards from Coventry Haven Women’s Aid said they are prepared for the next UK Charity Week.

“In 2018 that will be very different and we are scheduling an event to raise our profile etc. and will be in a position to get involved in the Charity Week as much as we can.”

“The specialist services we provide in Coventry are crucial! Domestic abuse is extremely common but is kept ‘hidden’ due to the embarrassment and humiliation that the victim is made to feel, and how she is portrayed. Society still blames the victim rather than the perpetrator and we still hear ‘Why didn’t she just leave?’ rather than ‘How can we stop this from happening?’.” explained Richards.

Richards says there is plenty the people of Coventry can do to help:
“We need to be having conversations with our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours about abuse. This needs to include boys and men, not just women. Abuse affects everyone, and it is everyone’s business. All genders need to be aware of what a healthy and respectful relationship is, whether that’s in an intimate way or a friendship. We have purple wristbands, that often provoke the question of what is it for/what does the band represent, which begins a conversation about the work we do and the services we provide and what abuse actually is.”

“We would encourage people to take a look at our website and start the conversation, and also consider volunteering opportunities.” said Richards. “We as a team have lots planned in terms of a Coventry Haven Women’s Aid Team and will be registering for not only one half marathon like in 2017, but various races, from 5k, 10k, half marathons, obstacle courses and even a skydive!  There are lots of amazing things planned for 2018! Watch this space!”

Coventry Haven Women’s Aid asks for money donations, as well as food items and clothing donations.

In light of UK Charity Week, tickets have gone on sale for a Christmas concert at Coventry Cathedral on the 16th December. The concert will feature the Coventry Cathedral Chorus and the Coventry and Warwickshire Youth Orchestra. The show will be in two parts, one of which starts at 3pm, and the next at 6pm. All proceeds from the concert will go to the NSPCC.

This is not the first year the concert, which is sponsored by the Coventry Telegraph, has happened. The first show was two years ago, and since then it has been very successful at raising money. The Coventry and Warwickshire business board, who organise the event, are hoping to get 1,200 people to attend this year, which would be the highest number of guests so far. Tickets cost £15 for adults, £7.50 for children, £13 for concessions and £40 for families, with all money raised going to the NSPCC. Louise Clark is a singing teacher at The Drama Academy in Coventry, who will be performing on the night. She said this is a first for her students, and they have big expectations.

“They’re singing a song called ‘Christmas at the Movies’, which involves songs you’ll hear in traditional Christmas movies.” said Clark.

“I think it’s the perfect way to start Christmas, because obviously it’s at six o’clock so so you can do your shopping, then come to the cathedral, but its also a load of traditional songs, and there’s a sing-along for the audience to join in with traditional carols, but it’s not just carols.”

Clark believes “It’s a really nice, sparkly way to start Christmas.”

Another wonderful charity getting praised this week is Coventry and Warwickshire Mind. Coventry and Warwickshire Mind is a mental health charity, that works with those who have suffered mental health problems to get them to a place where they feel better again, and to reduce the stigma that is associated with having a mental health problem. A spokesperson from Coventry and Warwickshire Mind said that they will be getting involved with UK Charity Week via social media.

“Awareness of mental health issues has grown nationally in recent years and this, together with publicity driven by Coventry and Warwickshire Mind to raise awareness of the vast range of services our charity delivers, has seen improved awareness at local level and increased use of Coventry and Warwickshire Mind services. In the past three years, Coventry and Warwickshire Mind interventions have increased by 44.6%”, they explained.

Coventry and Warwickshire Mind accept money donations and encourage people to do fundraisers. The spokesperson said, “We are always keen to welcome more volunteers and fundraisers to aid our mission to provide quality mental health services, reduce stigma and promote positive mental wellbeing. To find out more about how to get involved, please visit out website You can also find us on Twitter @CWMind and Facebook ‘Coventry and Warwickshire Mind'”.

There are loads of ways to get involved in UK Charity Week in Coventry, even by simply appreciating the hard work that goes into the many charities based here. Raising awareness for your local charities is what this week is all about!

Kim Delaney

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