By Jan Post: Chairman, RIFT Group

RIFT was built on the idea of helping people. That’s why we put so much effort into making sure none of our customers are missing out financially. It’s also why we work so hard with our charity partners, both through direct donations and active involvement in their projects.

The past 18 months have seen life in the UK turned upside-down, and the cost can’t only be counted in terms of money. Those months have also seen reports of domestic abuse soar by 50% in Kent alone. Over 1,000 families have had to rely on charity support as a result of this shocking and violent rise, with a heartbreaking total of 1,874 children impacted across Kent and Medway.

That why I have joined 8 other Kent business leaders to create the Care for Christmas 2021 appeal.  We’re committed to raising a total of £20,000 by the 20th of December to help support families fleeing domestic abuse.I’m working with Lyndsey (Gallaghers), Julie (Rap Interiors), Mei-Ling (Brachers), Anita (family Business Place), Claire (Spatial Dimensions) Josephine (Kent Community Foundation), Dina (CAF Bank), Sally (Baldwins Travel) and Emma (Global).

With 2 women dying a week from domestic abuse, support for victims is absolutely vital. Even after leaving leave their abusers, many still face continued harassment and danger. With this Christmas appeal, we want to help in some small way by providing toys and gifts for domestic violence survivors living in charity refuges in Kent. We would also like to be able to donate money to help the charities housing these families provide accommodation, food and other provisions over Christmas.

Please make all cash donations here (deadline: 20th of December): https://kentcf.org.uk/give/care-for-christmas-appeal  

Care for Christmas Appeal 2021: A Christmas Wishlist

There are so many ways to support our Care for Christmas 2021 campaign, working to help victims of domestic abuse through a difficult winter. Here’s a wishlist to consider (due to pandemic restrictions, we must ask for new items only, please):

  • Books (e.g. David Walliams, Jacqueline Wilson, lift the flap books, touch and feel books)
  • Vouchers for a day out (e.g. Legoland, Kent Wildlife trust)
  • Toys for 0 to 2 year olds
  • Dressing up/role play items, multicultural dolls
  • Teenage gifts (LEGO Technics, board/card games ,teen colouring / doodle books)
  • Gift cards (Amazon, Sports Direct, Primark, ASDA, Tesco, Sainsburys etc.)
  • Manicure sets, boxed toiletries (for any age)
  • Pyjamas and dressing gowns for women (please include gift receipts so they can be changed for a different size if needed)
  • Christmas biscuits, mince pies, cakes, selection boxes
  • Hand and bath towels, single bedding (for women and children)
  • Diaries and calendars (to help adults with planning for the future)
  • Small lamps and kitchen equipment (mugs, cutlery sets, 4-place dinner sets, utensil sets, baking trays, roasting tins, measuring jugs, mixing bowls, casserole dishes, baking equipment)
  • A a toilette bag containing health and beauty products
  • A handbag

Any of the above can be dropped off at the designated places below:

  • RIFT Group, Biz Space, 1600 Eureka Park, Lower Pemberton, Ashford, TN25 4BF
  • Rap Interiors, 6 Orchard Ind Est Maidstone ME15 9YE
  • Gallagher Construction, Leitrim House, Aylesford, ME20 7NS 
  • Spatial Dimensions, Unit 17, Wealden Place, Sevenoaks, TN13 3QQ

The deadline for donated items is the 17th of December. Please, no candles or alcohol. All donations should be new and unwrapped.

What your donation could mean

The Care for Christmas Appeal 2021 has teamed up with Kent Community Foundation to help support women and children fleeing domestic abuse through Kent’s charity refuges. This partnership will ensure that all donations get to where they’re needed. 

  • £15 could pay for a set of pyjamas and underwear for a child who has fled violence
  • £20 can buy a set of plates, bowls etc. for a young mum moving in/out of sheltered accommodation
  • £30 could provide an hour of counselling for a child or mother to help deal with their trauma
  • £40 will pay for the costs of fostering a dog for a month
  • £50 can buy arts and crafts needed for one of our children’s recovery programmes or a kitchen starter kit for a family resettling from refuge
  • £100 can fund a fun day out for children and young people who have lived with domestic abuse or a pre-loved bed and new mattress for a client resettling
  • £150 could pay for 10 hours of counselling to help someone recover from the trauma they’ve experienced

Who are the charities?

The Care for Christmas 2021 appeal is working in partnership with 4 charities helping victims of domestic abuse:

  • Rising Sun Domestic Violence and Abuse Service

Rising Sun Domestic Violence & Abuse Service is a charity in Kent addressing domestic violence and providing services for children and families. Through their work they promote healthy, non-abusive relationships and challenge attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate domestic violence. They have helped countless women and children over the years. They have also run women’s refuges in Kent.  

  • Oasis

Oasis began with a group of dedicated volunteers back in 1994 and have been supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse ever since. When Oasis opened its doors in 1994, two women a week were being murdered as a result of domestic abuse. Sadly, this figure remains the same and their services are as vital as ever. Their mission is to increase safety for victims, rebuild lives and create lasting change for women and children fleeing abuse, supporting them in refuge and on every step toward a safer future.

  • Dogs Trust Fostering Freedom Project – Canterbury Branch

Dogs Trust Freedom Project in Canterbury is a dog fostering service for people fleeing domestic abuse and going into refuge. The service has been running for 16 years and has helped over 1,500 people to flee domestic abuse. Families fleeing domestic abuse are usually unable to take their pets with them into a refuge so in many cases they are unable to leave their home until they know there is somewhere safe for their pets. 

  • NSPCC (DART) - Medway  

Through Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together (DART™), children and mothers can talk to each other about domestic abuse, learn to communicate and rebuild their relationship. Children and mothers work together and take part in group activities. Women learn more about how domestic abuse happens and how it affects children. They’ll also explore experiences and strategies that can be used as a parent. Children take part in activities together that help them build their own understanding of domestic abuse and how they’re feeling.

If you would like any more information or have any ideas you would like to pledge as part of the Care for Christmas Appeal don’t hesitate to contact The Kent Community Foundation https://kentcf.org.uk/contact

Again, please make all cash donations here (deadline: 20th of December): https://kentcf.org.uk/give/care-for-christmas-appeal