Wiltshire's Bobby Van stays on the road to help domestic abuse victims

Wiltshire's Bobby Van stays on the road to help domestic abuse victims

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 5:37am 26th June 2020.

3 minute read

The charity's lost around £70,000 of its fundraising since coronavirus hit, but the demand for their services remains high.

The Bobby Van, or three vans to be precise, travel around Wiltshire manned by former police officers who offer advice and support to those that need help with home security.

Many of the people they help are the older generation, but they're now seeing a big increase in the need to help victims of domestic abuse.

Wiltshire Bobby Van June 2020
Wiltshire Bobby Van staff before the Covid-19 pandemic hit

Wiltshire Police has seen a 14% rise in domestic abuse incidents while the lockdown has been ongoing.

Jennie Shaw, Director of the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, explains what sort of help they can provide: 

"Our aim is to make sure that families are safe at home, and can remain at home. So it would be simple things (that we can give them), from changing door locks, adding window locks, adding fireproof letterboxes, perhaps a key safe - teaching people as well on how to remain safe, little tips of what to do."

Here's the full interview with Jennie: 

The charity's been given £5,000 from the Wiltshire Community Foundation's Emergency Coronavirus Response Fund to keep services running.

The Bobby Van runs independently from Wiltshire Police, but does get support with things like facilities, uniforms and training - while the charity funds the staff salaries, vehicle maintenance and the security equipment they give out to households, free of charge.

Jennie Shaw says being part of the Bobby Van is hugely rewarding, and their team love being out helping people too: 

"Even if we had wanted to step the staff down during this crisis, there was no way they were going to let me anyway! They are absolutely determined to stay out in the community, because this is obviously where we're needed, that's exactly why we're in situ."

MORE FUNDING FOR BOBBY VAN

As well as the WCF Fund, Wiltshire's Bobby Van has also had support from the Royal Warrant Holders Association Charity Fund.

They've had a £2,000 grant from them, which means they've recoup around 10% of the funding they've lost so far this year.

Wiltshire Bobby Van Grant Cheque June 2020
The team receive the cheque from the Royal Warrant Holders Association Charity Fund

WILTSHIRE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FUND UPDATE

The fund was set up at the start of lockdown to support groups, charities and organisations that have been feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic - either through losing revenue or having to adapt their services.

So far, almost £850,000 has been donated to the Fund, with more than 150 grants, totalling £550,000 given back out to causes across Wiltshire.

Fiona Oliver, interim co-chief executive of the community foundation, said: 

"We've been continually amazed by the people of Wiltshire and the trusts and companies that have supported us. The fact we have been able to make 150 grants to help groups do such vital work in their communities is all down to that incredible generosity."

You can find out more about the Fund by visiting the Wiltshire Community Foundation website.

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