For the last two years Connect Three has proudly offered what we can to support the work of the incredible SAY Women charity.  SAY Women offers safe semi-supported accommodation and emotional support for young women aged 16 to 25 who are survivors of sexual abuse, rape or sexual assault and who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness.

As well as attending their fundraising and networking events, we have offered our professional support to their training team.  Katy says "I have been lucky enough to visit their Bell Street site, meet some of the young women, and see first-hand the atmosphere of belonging that they create.  This is a charity that is forged on so much passion and compassion, but also respect for the young women. The things I value most in life are what this charity aims to give to women when they need it most and that can only be a great thing."

While the pandemic means we are currently unable to support the team in person, each Christmas we have also donated practical gifts for the women who are taken care of by the charity.  In 2020 we were pleased to be in the position to increase our donation and give gifts to every young woman and young person supported by SAY Women.  We gifted a self-care pack with journals, slippers, selection boxes, toiletries, and other small gifts to over 65 of the residents and service users.

Our donations allowed these young women to have a Christmas present, in most instances it was their only one, and showed them that someone who didn’t know them, still cared enough to give them something small to smile about, even during their current forced isolated situation.

When Shona spoke to Pam Hunter, SAY Women’s CEO, she shared how difficult the pandemic has made face-to-face support and mentioned that the gifts gave the SAY Women team the reason to check in on each of the women in person.  Although unable to go into details for reasons of confidentiality, Pam mentioned that when she delivered one of our gifts, the visit triggered a series of events that may never have happened without that opportunity.  Shona says “It was wonderful to hear these small acts of kindness can actually be the catalyst for larger, more important events.  It means so much to all of us at Connect Three to know that by living out our values we can play a small part in creating these kind of moments.”

Speaking about the work of the charity Pam said: “Women in homelessness are uniquely vulnerable. The trauma they have experienced means that often they are unable to make decisions which support their safety and wellbeing, and will take more risks based on survival needs and so their trauma continues. This pattern is not inevitable and with just a little additional support from the public we can change this together.”

During the pandemic and lockdown, SAY Women and similar charities have faced more demand than ever before.  In November, the charity Refuge released data that showed there were 50 abuse related killings in the UK during the first lockdown.

As Pam says: “The COVID-19 pandemic places crippling pressure on the lifeline services our young women receive, as their support needs increase dramatically alongside their anxieties.

“It can be more difficult to ask for help and support in the current lockdown, meaning we are seeing our young women potentially repeating the pattern of being a victim of sexual abuse once again, a situation which we are working hard to help them recover from.  The support from Connect Three is very important to SAY Women and we are delighted to be recognised and valued by them in our work with vulnerable young women.”

We will continue to do what we can for SAY Women, and we’d like to take the opportunity to reach out to our clients, suppliers and partners reading this, and ask you to support the cause with us.  You can make a donation to their urgent COVID appeal here.

Or find out more about the charity here.