Safe in Sussex welcomes a new patron – Helen Hitchcock

Safe in Sussex is delighted to announce that we have welcomed a new patron to our charity – Helen Hitchcock, owner of Sakala in Steyning. Helen has been a supporter of Safe in Sussex for over eight years, after a chance meeting with Deputy-CEO, Louise Gisbey.

As well as being invited to visit Safe in Sussex projects to gain a deeper understanding of the important services provided, a Patron’s duties include lending credibility and support to the charity, attending events, championing the objectives of the charity, making public speeches, speaking to local media and hosting events to raise funds and awareness.

As for the latter, Helen has already been a passionate driving force behind numerous events and fundraisers for the charity, including a skydive and a wing-walk – pulling people in with her infectious enthusiasm. With her professional background in fundraising and indomitable spirit, we couldn’t be more pleased to have Helen onboard in an official capacity as Patron to Safe in Sussex – who knows what wild adventures she’ll take us on next?

Of her appointment, Helen says, ‘From day one the organisation felt like a perfect fit to my business, my ethics and lifestyle. Over the years we have done some fun events like fashion shows and tea parties, along with crazy stuff like wing-walking and skydiving. Next year, my passions will collide when I lead several teams of rickshaws on a 1100km rickshaw challenge from Goa to Mumbai - having lots of adventures along the way, I am sure! My next event for this year is ‘Murder most Fowl!’ - a murder mystery dinner evening, with all profits going to our Rickshaw Challenge fundraiser. I am proud to have been asked to take on this role. I am lucky enough never to have experienced domestic abuse, but the problems grow year on year. If I have helped spread the word about the work Safe in Sussex does and to have been a positive role model to others, then that is all I ask.’

• Two women per week are killed by current or ex-partners.
• One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
• 34,000 children are being exposed to some form of domestic abuse each month.

Safe in Sussex was founded as Worthing Women’s Aid in 1977 by a group of women who helped local victims of abuse by offering them refuge. Our services include 4 confidential refuges, 3 dispersed accommodation flats as places of refuge, and several education and outreach programmes, including Hope2Recovery, the Freedom Programme and The Recovery Toolkit – all designed to help those escaping abuse and those wanting to rebuild their lives.

Our programmes run in schools, and we hope that through educating children and young people about consent, boundaries, communication and what a healthy relationship looks like, we can prevent history repeating itself. We also have an LGBTQ+ IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) and a IDVA who supports male victims.

As well as our groups, we work with victims of abuse in their communities – signposting them to relevant services and offering refuge where possible/when necessary.

In 2021:
• Safe in Sussex supported 659 adult individuals through our services.
• Safe in Sussex supported 82 children.
• The Safe in Sussex helpline (which closed in December due to funding being withdrawn) received 2000 calls.

Contact Information: Tash Mills (Community & Corporate Fundraiser)

01903 896 210

1-7 Elm Park, Ferring, BN12 5RN

Worthing Women’s Aid is a Registered Charity (No. 1098726) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (No. 04691516). Registered office: A2, Yeoman Gate, Yeoman Way, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3QZ.
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