05:40PM, Monday 08 November 2021
Photo credits: Stewart Turkington
Maidenhead MP Theresa May was at Bray's Monkey Island Estate last week for an event aiming to support disadvantaged women and girls.
The 'Together for Women' initiative was launched in 2019 by the Berkshire Community Foundation, a charity which distributes cash to other good causes in the county.
The project aims to bring together women to support other females in Berkshire who live with disadvantage or who suffer from issues such as domestic abuse, homelessness, exploitation or modern slavery.
Mrs May was present at a lunch event at the Monkey Island Estate hotel on Friday which saw 80 female leaders in Berkshire’s corporate, civil and charitable sector hear an update on the ‘Together for Women’ fund.
In 2020, it distributed almost £500,000 to 15 charities and community groups in Berkshire that tackle women and girls’ issues.
Gerry Lejeune, CEO of Berkshire Community Foundation, said: “The problems of sexual abuse, modern slavery and domestic violence are historical and ongoing in Berkshire, exacerbated by isolation and poverty.
"Recent high-profile cases of violence against women have raised much-needed awareness, but it is not enough.
“Thankfully, a lot is being done behind the scenes by Thames Valley Police, statutory agencies and voluntary groups to ensure support is in place.
"By bringing an interested, influential and important group of women together today, we hope to continue raising the profile of these crucial topics and, importantly, raise funds that enable us to support charities that provide women and girls a lifeline when it is most needed.”
Figures show that one in three women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, whilst on average, two women are killed each week in England and Wales by a current or former partner.
Almost 62 per cent of children who live with domestic abuse are also directly harmed by the perpetrator and to date in 2021, there have been 406 identified victims of modern slavery in the Thames Valley area.
Pei-Leeng Yeoh, marketing manager of Monkey Island Estate, added: “We were delighted to host the Berkshire Community Foundation’s 'Together for Women' event here at Monkey Island Estate in Bray.
"As a hotel in Berkshire lots of our staff and guests live locally and so we are so proud to support the local community, the Berkshire Community Foundation and all the great things that they do for vital causes in the area.”
A silent auction held in conjunction with the event has raised £5,000 to date and is set to close on Friday. Proceeds from the auction will go directly towards the initiative.
Caron Kipping, a divorce and separation coach, said: “Sadly, domestic abuse and violence can happen to anyone, whatever their background or social circle.
"But there is always hope and the resilience and tenacity of women cannot be underestimated. When women come together to tackle these big issues together, so much is possible. I’m excited to see what the 'Together for Women' initiative achieves in the coming years.”