Rucksacks lifeline for domestic abuse victims

KIND-HEARTED members of Oldham Metro’s Rotary Club have been doing their bit to help families less fortunate by donating rucksacks packed with goods to help in the toughest of situations.

Rotarian Raj Jethani, Second Vice-President Michelle Greenwood, Vanessa Lees Age UK Oldham, President Jack Wild, Becky Rothwell of Threshold Housing Project, Vice-President John Cockcroft and Julie Bird of Threshold Women’s Service

With many women fleeing situations of domestic violence, they often find themselves with nothing, especially if they have children.

But the rotary members have helped provide 25 backpacks with things including clothes for children aged three to 13 years old.

Age UK Oldham helped put them together and they were handed over to the Threshold Housing Project at the February meeting of the club at Royton and Crompton Golf Club.

Becky Rothwell of Threshold said that while a backpack may not sound a great deal, it can be massive to a family that has just fled its home.

She said: “It’s massive for women and children, many of whom have experienced domestic violence.

“It may look like just a few bags but if a family has made a quick exit, very often they have nothing at all.

“Those that have something have just a few bags that they grabbed on their way out.

“The children then have to change schools and many come from outside the borough, so some do not even have backpacks to take to school with them.

“Just having something is a real comfort to people, who are very often starting from scratch.

“At the end of the day, anything is a huge help and these backpacks are massively appreciated.”

Vanessa Lees of Age UK Oldham was one of the brains behind putting the packs, which may include something as simple as cutlery, together.

She said: “We’ve done them for both girls and boys and it took about a month to put them together in all.

“We had a lot of help from our volunteers, who were great.”

It is not the first time the Oldham Metro Rotary Club has donated backpacks to a good cause.

Last year, it sent 30 to a church school in the African country of Uganda, through the Impact Church in Hollinwood.

And at the meeting, members were updated on the impact their donation had on the school.

Rotary Club President Jack Wild said he was delighted the group can do something to help those less fortunate in its local community.

He said: “It makes me so proud that we are able to do something like this. It may seem like a small gesture in the grand scheme of things but hopefully, the backpacks can make a huge difference.”

• Find out more about the Rotary Club of Oldham Metro online:

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