A charity supporting domestic abuse survivors in Brighton and Hove has received the largest donation in the charity's history.
Staff at RISE said they were ‘bowled over’ after being handed a £92,000 donation from insurance company RiverStone.
Fiona Gray, fundraising assistant, said: "We received a phone call from RiverStone out of the blue, and I had to keep asking for the amount to check I hadn’t misheard.
“When we put the phone down we were shaking a little. It’s an incredible sum of money, the largest single donation in our charity’s history.”
RISE CEO Jo Gough, said: “This gift has made us all feel quite emotional. It will help us provide the services survivors need, when they need it. I understand that RiverStone staff choose a local charity, we are honoured to be their choice this year and will work hard to use their money well.”
On how the money will be spent Ms Gough said: "RISE is dedicating the RiverStone funding to providing recovery, support services to women affected by domestic abuse.
"Women will be supported to access a 12-week group work programme and their children will be offered specialist childcare support. In addition we will be improving our digital presence to ensure survivors know where we are and how to get help quickly through our social media and website."
RISE supports local families affected by domestic abuse and has seen an large increase in the number of people requesting help. So the donation came as welcome relief to the charity.
A spokesperson for RiverStone said “It is an important part of our culture to give back to the local community and we are delighted to be able to make a donation to such a crucial cause as RISE. We are thrilled that the donation will make a real impact to improve the lives of survivors of domestic abuse.”
Why are services like RISE needed?
A Women's Aid 2016/17 national survey revealed that there were 19,854 referrals to 124 refuge services across the UK in one year. But more than half of those referrals were declined.
Research showed the main reason for declining referrals was lack of space or capacity to support these families.
The survey also revealed that 11 per cent of survivors slept rough while searching for refuge, including seven women who had children with them and three women who were pregnant.
Seven per cent gave up their search for a refuge space and stayed put with the perpetrator.
While searching for a refuge space, 17% of women had to call the police to respond to a further incident of domestic abuse, and eight per cent were physically injured by the perpetrator.
What does RISE do?
RISE stands for refuge, information, support and education. The charity provides support to survivors of domestic abuse and their families in Brighton and Hove.
In 2016/17, RISE provided refuge to 147 people; 78 adults and 69 children. Most of the children were under five years old.
The charity launched in 1994, and has grown to include crisis accommodation, advocacy, helpline, counselling, support groups, legal and housing advice and children’s services.
It has also launched an LGB&T* service for survivors of domestic abuse, which was the first service of its kind in England.
To find out more about the charity, visit: www.riseuk.org.uk