As a charity that is almost entirely run by volunteers, we want to say a huge thank you this Volunteers Week (1st to 12th June) to the incredible people who have gone the extra mile over the years to support the charity and women and girls affected by rape and sexual violence in Leeds.
Since we launched in 2010, more than 100 volunteers have performed roles including:
- Working on the free-to-call confidential helpline (0808 802 3344, text 07797 803 211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org), providing emotional support 7 days a week to women and girls who have experienced rape or sexual violence
- Providing face-to-face emotional support
- Helping the charity to deliver its face-to-face advocacy service that can refers women to support services, informs them about legal processes if they choose to report the crime, provides advice about health, finances, housing, safety, and much more
- Being trustees or members of the charity’s steering group helping to inform how the charity is run
- Helping SARSVL with its fundraising and promotional activity and much more
Kristen Dundon has been volunteering for SARSVL since October 2015 and has been supporting our fundraising and communications activity. She’s also been involved in SARSVL’s steering group. She said: “I chose to volunteer for Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds as I had seen the charity’s stickers around the city which I thought were a fantastic idea and knew it was charity I wanted to help– I was keen particularly to get involved in their fundraising and communications and to ‘spread the word’ about the service so that women and girls knew that it is there for them.
“At SARSVL I volunteer in a group who manage the communications and fundraising for the charity as well as some of its outreach work, SARSVL is helping me develop and I’m getting involved in new tasks all the time and have very recently become a trustee which I’m delighted about.
“As SARSVL is a small charity that is volunteer led I really do feel I am making a difference and I really enjoy my volunteering. I’d encourage other women to consider donating their time and skills to SARSVL, there are so many things you can get involved with and you can work this round your other commitments and decide how much time you can give – you’re fully supported by your fantastic fellow volunteers along the way and all you need is a bit of enthusiasm and a willingness to get stuck in.”
SARSVL is the only charity in Leeds that supports all women and girls who have been affected by sexual violence of any kind at any time in their lives. We provide emotional support, promote their needs and rights, and also campaign to end rape and sexual violence. We rely on successful applications for funding and donations from the public.
Katie Russell, a Trustee at Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds, said: “We are the only charity that provides specialist support for women and girls who have gone through rape and sexual abuse and often feel they have nowhere to turn. Often those who have been affected by rape or sexual violence don’t feel they can report to the police because they fear the repercussions or they feel ashamed. We’re often the only organisation there to say we’ll listen to you and we will always believe you.
“We simply couldn’t continue to provide our services without our incredible volunteers. We’re always so astounded and inspired by the passion, commitment and energy that they bring to the charity and the selfless way they will give their time and skills for free. Thank you to everyone that’s helped us so far!”