An integral part of our culture at The PHA Group is the Charity of the Year program, which offers all employees the opportunity to support a charity close to their hearts.
Solace Women’s Aid, who offer free advice and support to women and children in London, was selected as our charity partner for 2020/2021 after an extensive research programme run by our CSR team.
Solace helps over 23,000 women and children to rebuild their lives each year offering services such as accommodation, rape crisis support, therapeutic support, and training.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity witnessed unprecedented demand for its life-saving services for women and girls, with more complex problems arising due to lockdown restrictions and stay-at-home orders.
With Solace facing an urgent need for additional funding to continue to deliver its services to women and children fleeing abuse, our team supported with vital fundraising and pro bono support to raise awareness of the charity’s mission to end violence against women and girls.
First up, our team put their best feet forward for the inaugural STEPtember challenge, devised to help staff get active while raising money for this important cause. With some fitness fanatics going as far as Snowdonia to beef up their step count, we smashed our agency-wide target of walking 10 million steps in September 2020, collectively racking up over 15 million steps while raising over £670 for Solace.
Fundraising continued on the fitness theme with the Solace 40 Challenge. Kicking off the new year with the charity’s annual fundraising event, staff were encouraged to get their steps in and walk 40 miles throughout the month of January. Come ice, rain, snow or hail, the whole team got on board and took on the task to help women and children escape violence and abuse.
Last but not least, fundraising culminated in our first-ever agency-wide raffle, which saw PHA-ers dig deep, donating over £830 to Solace for the chance to win an amazing line up of kindly donated prizes, including a Eurostar getaway, champagne afternoon tea, and tickets to see the mighty West Ham.
As well as fundraising, our team offered vital pro bono support to amplify Solace’s key campaign moments throughout the year.
With many survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, we supported with media outreach around the 2020 #MakeItStop Christmas fundraising appeal, which aimed to raise funds for therapy to help women and children stop reliving horrific memories of their abuse and start to reclaim their lives back.
While the incidence of domestic abuse rose by an estimated 25% during the lockdown, it was as restrictions eased ahead of the summer months that the unprecedented rise in calls to the charity’s free advice line came from women and children in crisis, with nowhere else to go.
Through media and influencer engagement, we supported Solace with an urgent fundraising appeal – the Solace Lifeline in spring 2021 – calling on the UK public to help the charity to continue to provide this critical support for women and children.
Through a targeted press office strategy, our team were proud to generate a host of social coverage for Solace with relevant online influencers, with media coverage secured in leading national and broadcast titles, including the likes of the Metro and BBC Radio London.
Another fundamental part of our charity partnership involved educating our employees about Solace’s mission to end violence against women and girls. Through a series of informative webinars, the skilled trainers at Solace helped to increase understanding amongst our team about the issue of domestic violence, the vital work the charity carry out and the importance of being a positive bystander.
This has given our team a much greater understanding of gender-based violence, which remains a huge problem as well as invaluable insight into what both women and men can do to help women feel safe.
Along with increasing Solace’s media and social presence, our team raised over £1.6K in donations throughout the yearlong partnership. These funds will help Solace to continue to provide a range of life-saving services, examples of which include:
- Delivering essential items for families fleeing abuse to start building a new home
- Supporting women who have no access to other support or recourse to public funds
- Providing girls with a personal hygiene packs so they never miss a day of school because of their period
Commenting on our partnership, Jane Jutsum, Executive Director of Business Development at Solace Women’s Aid said:
“We have been absolutely delighted to be The PHA Group’s charity of the year over the last year. With the difficulties of lockdown, their support has been invaluable in raising awareness for domestic abuse and our service users. We are grateful for their continued donations to our emergency funds which ensured that we could meet the needs of women and children in London over the last year. Thank you to all the staff who have fundraised and supported us.”
Looking back on our time with Solace, it’s clear to see just how beneficial a charity partnership can be, both for the charity and for the business. We are really proud of the money we’ve been able to raise for Solace and it has been great to see everyone getting together to support such an important cause.
Our team are grateful to have had the opportunity to support Solace Women’s Aid and wish the charity every success for the future. For more information about the vital work Solace carry out, visit: www.solacewomensaid.org.