At the start of April, Chelsea Football Club joined forces with UK charity Refuge to raise awareness and valuable funds to support women and children experiencing domestic abuse during the current unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic.
As reports from around the world show that the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in domestic abuse incidents during periods of isolation and lockdown, we asked our fans for their support and the response has been incredible.
Through the club’s digital campaign with the women’s and men’s teams and hundreds of season ticket holder donations, you have now raised significant funds to help Refuge to support women and children experiencing domestic abuse.
With the club matching your donations and the addition of the Women’s Super League prize money, Refuge will receive over £500,000 from this campaign with Chelsea FC.
Chelsea Football Club and Refuge would like to thank every person who has donated so generously to this vital cause. We would also like to thank Process Photography for an important contribution.
Chelsea FC Women’s manager Emma Hayes said: 'I have been proud to lead the club’s support of this worthy cause and I am proud of the response of our fans.
‘To have raised over £200,000 for Refuge's vital work is incredible and I am so grateful for your generosity.
‘The club and Mr. Abramovich will be matching this contribution and I hope this goes some way to helping women and children in desperate need.’
Men's captain Cezar Azpilicueta added: 'We asked our fans and the Chelsea community to support our efforts to look after those in danger during this ongoing pandemic.
We are so proud and grateful for your response. You have raised vital funds to protect vulnerable women and children and help Refuge continue its life-saving work.
Thank you. We knew you would come through.'
Sandra Horley CBE, Refuge Chief Executive said: ‘Refuge is enormously grateful to Chelsea supporters who have dug deep at this time to support Refuge, and to Chelsea FC for matching their donations.
Since the start of lockdown, Refuge has seen a huge spike in demand for its National Domestic Abuse Helpline, indicating the sheer numbers of women who need our support.
Every single penny that is raised helps us to ensure no woman or child is turned away from receiving the support they need. We are so grateful to Chelsea FC and their fans for this incredible gesture of support.’
While this campaign is coming to an end, domestic abuse will not. Please continue to support Refuge to keep its life-saving and life-changing services running and reach even more women and children in desperate need.
Refuge provides a national network of specialist services which support around 6,500 women and children every day, including emergency accommodation, community outreach, independent domestic violence advocacy (IDVAs), culturally specific services and a team of child support workers.
Refuge also runs the Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, 0808 2000 247, which has seen a huge spike in demand during lockdown. www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk provides additional support information and an online form where women can request a safe time to be called back or access a live chat facility. This online method of accessing support is especially important now when telephoning for help may be more difficult.
Women can also receive automated guidance via Refuge’s Tech Safety Tool on how to secure their devices.