Thousands raised for abuse victims by Leytonstone women

Jill Hasler from the Stone Rangers on their hard work to support abuse victims

The Leytonstone Women's Institute presenting a 'cheque' to SOLACE
The Leytonstone Women’s Institute presenting a ‘cheque’ to SOLACE

The Leytonstone branch of the Women’s Institute has raised almost £4,500 for domestic abuse survivors.

The Stone Rangers spent the last two years raising funds for SOLACE Women’s Aid, a charity that works not only to support survivors of abuse, particularly women and girls, but also to prevent domestic violence in the first place.

Our goal to support their vital work became not only more challenging once the Covid-19 epidemic began – requiring all our resources, skills and contacts – but also more necessary, as reports of domestic violence rose during lockdown.

Employing traditional WI skills and resourcefulness, several members made masks and propagated houseplants to sell, while many of us also donated what we would have spent on refreshments at meetings.

Member Jane Ramsell also delivered 3,000 free facemasks to survivors being supported by the charity, thanks to her links with the community project For the Love of Scrubs. 

However, our fundraising really took off once restrictions were lifted last year. Our Pimms and Cake garden party raised £1,250, while a benefit in autumn – featuring Cajun band Joli Blon – raised an extra £900. 

Members also donated £385 in vouchers, plus several large bags of gifts, for the SOLACE Christmas appeal, which provided presents for the women and children in their refuges across North and East London. We had a lovely thank you card made by one of the children and some moving messages.

A SOLACE representative came to our Christmas meeting to receive these gifts and a ‘cheque’ for over £2500 and spoke about how the money raised will be used towards meeting the increased demand for their services.

The Stone Rangers numbered 38 during this time so we were a small but active WI. SRWI President Christine Lee comments: “A fabulous £4,498 was raised,  we feel very proud to have supported SOLACE in the delivery of what are essential services to women and children in desperate need of their help.”