Charity chooses Valentine’s Day to launch Solihull domestic abuse support service

A support service for victims of domestic violence and abuse has been launched in Solihull.

Samantha Brown (third from left), the hotel’s regional director of sales, with SDASPS committee members (l-r) Fin Redford, Wendy Huckle, Margaret Lloyd, Carol Anderson and Angela Grant.

Solihull Domestic Abuse Support and Prevention Services (SDASPS) chose St Valentine’s Day for the inaugural event as a way of highlighting the suffering endured by people – usually women – at the hands of their partners.

Invitations to the launch, held at The St John’s Hotel in Warwick Road, which sponsored yesterday’s event, read: “He loves me….he loves me not”.

Wendy Huckle, chairman of SDASPS, said: “We chose St Valentine’s Day for the launch because we thought it was a good way of highlighting that many relationships that start out romantically go horribly wrong because of domestic violence.”

More than 30 people, including representatives from Solihull Council, attended the event, which featured poetry readings and the unveiling of a CD of songs performed by a domestic abuse survivor.

The event was also aimed at raising funds for the new organisation, which needs about £35,000 a year to deliver core services.

SDASPS is headed by Wendy and Margaret Lloyd, who until recently was involved in the Make a Better Life Trust (Solihull) (MABL), an independent charity founded in 2000.

“Solihull already has some services for victims of domestic abuse, including a women’s refuge and services run by Women’s Aid, but because of a lack of resources, these are quite limited,” explained Wendy.

“Also, women need different things at different stages and one of the aspects Margaret focuses on is working with women who have just come through a crisis period – they may have just left a violent relationship or are ready to move out of a refuge – and need ongoing help and support to move forward with their lives.

“What SDASPS can do is work with them to provide practical help, and we can also offer them the Freedom Programme, which is a 12-week programme offering advice and information to men and women. It helps people to recognise what has been done to them and how to prevent it happening in the future.”

Wendy said SDASPS was hoping to raise funding from local businesses and individuals.

“We have a little bit of money in the pot, from donations and SUSTAiN, a support and development service for Solihull’s voluntary sector – another charity supported by St John’s Hotel. We are applying for an Awards for All grant, but we really hope some local companies will feel able to support us.”

Tony Hill, general manager of St John’s, said: “The hotel was very happy to sponsor the launch of SDASPS because the services it offers are much-needed. Solihull is an affluent area, but evidence shows that domestic abuse happens everywhere to all kinds of people.”

  • Anyone wanting to contact SDASPS or who would like to make a donation to the charity should contact Margaret Lloyd on 07590 435390.