The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville

One of the projects supported by St George’s MU members is SDAS at Havant [or the Women’s Refuge, as we refer to it] We supply them with used and new clothing, toys, toiletries, bedding, towels etc. As a result we are invited to their AGM which is held at St Francis Church Leigh Park. We are welcomed with a drink and after the meeting delicious light refreshments are served. Usually two or three of us attend but this year I went with Margaret Leslie, Coordinator of MU’s Action and Outreach Unit in this diocese. We were welcomed with effusive thanks from the Workers for our day at the seaside at Ryde, to which we took several Mums and their children on August 5th.

The Chairman Wendy Osgood opened the meeting by saying’ What a difference a year makes.’ Over the year they had secured a contract from Hampshire County Council for the running of refuges and community based services for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. As a result they now have responsibility for four refuges; East Hants, Havant, Fareham and Gosport. The Havant refuge has expanded to two houses. Staffing has been increased and they appear to be going from strength to strength.

The guest speaker was Amy Ford, Up2U Business and Development Manager. Using various anonymous case studies she led us to appreciate how difficult it is to differentiate between victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and how impossible it is to bring about change of behaviour unless the person really wants to change their own way of thinking and relationship with others.

It is a privilege to be invited.

Margaret Symonds

Autumn 2015