Monthly Archives: October 2015

Charity of the Week – Bromley Women’s Aid

BWA logoWhen people think of domestic abuse it’s often as a woman with a black eye or a bruised body but, as Bromley Women’s Aid can tell us, that’s a narrow example.

Domestic abuse is when you are controlled, bullied or threatened by your partner or a family member and abuse can be mental, emotional, psychological, sexual or financial.

It doesn’t happen to one kind of person either – women and men of all classes, ages and backgrounds can suffer abuse.

There are ways of recognising abuse:

  • He/she criticises you and puts you down
  • He/she treats you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see
  • He/she ignores or puts down your opinions or accomplishments
  • He/she blames you for their own abusive behaviour
  • He/she sees you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person

So how do you get help?

If you are in imminent danger, ring the police on 999

To get help from Bromley Women’s Aid for yourself call 020 8313 9303 (Monday to Friday, 9-4.30 pm) or email

To get help outside of our office hours, ring the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

The national Women’s Aid website has fantastic pages with information about refuges, specialist refuges and help – just select the area you need information about.

If you are using the BWA website or the national Women’s Aid website you can click a button in the top right hand side of the screen to hide the visit from your browser history.

Bromley Women’s Aid focus on maintaining the independence, confidence and self-esteem of anyone that they help and are responsive to the needs of individuals in a culturally appropriate and sensitive way and will endeavour to treat their residents, clients, staff and partners with integrity, honesty and respect.

This ethos has served them and the women they help very well in the times since they began 40 years ago.

The Facts

2 women a week are killed by a partner or an ex partner yet:

  • on a single day in 2013 155 women and 103 children were turned away from refuges because there was no room;
  • since 2013 there has been a 30% drop in the number of refuges accepting emergency overnight referrals;
  • 32 refuges have closed in the last four years and many are under threat
    in 2012/13 15,404 women were living in refuges across England.

“Without more funding women will die. We need a long term funding solution and we will put the pressure on until we have one.”

So how can you help?

Community groups, churches, businesses and business groups all help with more than just money.

Many of these groups will come into contact with individuals suffering from domestic abuse so by being informed and helping support the work that BWA mean these people have vital means to access the help they need.

If your organisation is concerned about the effects of Domestic Abuse and would like to help then please consider any or all of the following:

  • Keep information about the work that BWA does available
  • Invite a BWA staff member to speak at a meeting
  • Help with in-kind donations
  • Make a financial gift
  • Organise a fundraising event
  • Nominate BWA your Charity of the Year

If you’re not a member of an organisation and you’d like to make a donation then £25 will help pay for the telephone helpline, £50 will pay for a week’s food for a mother and her children entering a Refuge with no money and no immediate access to benefits and £75 will help provide a school session reaching an average of 26 children and their teachers

You can also give by text – just text BRWA07 plus your donation (eg. BRWA07 £5) to 70070

If you feel that you’d like to give some time to help BWA then you can see how to become a volunteer or other ways of being involved here.

The Twitter account for Bromley Women’s Aid is @BromleyWA and their website is here

Once again, those all important telephone numbers:

Bromley Women’s Aid – 020 8313 9303

National Domestic Abuse Hotline – 0808 2000 247

Charity of the Week – 2gether Shop, Chislehurst


The 2gether charity shop on Chislehurst High Street is, in their own words, independent & stylish!

“This most compulsive shop is a real delight to investigate. Everything is so fresh and in good taste and I cannot leave without buying something. A blessing to the village.”

It’s not part of a big organisation but it does play a big part in raising money for Chislehurst Youth for Christ who engage with young people in the local community.

If you’d like to donate some goods to them you can find their guidelines on their donations page. Like all shops raising money for charity, 2gether shop relies on your donations to fill their shelves!

” I have always managed to find something perfect for me to wear or my son to play with. The staff seem to want to help however busy they are, even if it is just to say hello to my son. Love the shop, the atmosphere and especially the bargains to be had.”

Unlike most other charity shops, 2gether also offers a place to sit and have a coffee. They can sell you a cup of coffee or maybe some hot chocolate or one of the various teas they stock, with a biscuit, for only a £1! You can sit and browse the news board listing local charity events while you enjoy your drink.

“Fantastic atmosphere, lovely people, best books in Bromley! It’s a place to hang out and you will bag something exquisite for a bargain price! I love it.”

There is a prayer box for anyone who would like prayer said. Just pop a note in the box and they will gladly pray for you or whoever you have asked them to pray for.

The shop runs a lot of different events throughout the year including their weekly workshops.

To book your place please pop in, email or call 020 8468 7707 ask for Clare, Debbie or Sue.

The shop is proud to be active in Chislehurst Business Group and Clare who manages the shop keenly promotes the town as a vibrant community.

You can find 2gether Shop on Twitter, Facebook and Ebay as well as their own website.

Community Group of the Week – Bromley Green Gym

I recently talked to Elaine Brown who is Chair of Bromley Green Gym and she told me very enthusiastically what it’s all about!

How did Green Gym come about & whose idea was it?

Green Gyms are the idea of a GP who is the vice president of The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). In the mid 90s Dr William Bird started promoting healthy walks as an alternative to medication for depression. BTCV, which was set up in 1959, are committed to nature conservation and they use volunteers to develop their work in encouraging biodiversity in open spaces. London and the South East have the widest distribution of Green Gyms.

The Gyms support a wide range of ages, background, ethnicity, ability and experience. At Bromley our youngest volunteer is 3 and the oldest would prefer to keep his age quiet! Amongst our complement are pre-school children, students, unemployed people, part time workers, retired people, those who consider themselves physically and/or mentally challenged, and those who attend on their days off work. A number have little previous experience, while others bring a wealth of knowledge and ideas

Bromley Green Gym started in May 2013 and we became an independent group on 22nd May 2015.

What does a typical session at Green Gym entail?

Typically, we set out the tools to be used in the session before volunteers arrive, we begin with exercises to loosen and relax stiff muscles in preparation for the work, and an explanation of how to carry and safely use the tools being used. Tasks are explained and areas of work chosen. New volunteers are linked to more experienced leaders and volunteers. A short break for tea and bananas midway through then a return to tasks.

Our staples are weeding one area or other, digging with trowel, fork or spade, watering newly planted items and ensuring more established plants don’t dry out. The site always needs a tidy up so litter picking is a weekly task. Projects such as insect habitats, raised beds, leaf mould pens. seating areas, compost bins and our pergolas require design, sourcing materials, measuring, digging, sawing, nailing, mixing post crete, painting, and working as a team. Some of volunteers work on more than one site and step in to assist other Gyms.

Green Gyms offer exercise, teamwork, transferable social skills, computer skills, plant and insect identification, increased biodiversity awareness, practical skills and a sense of achievement!

What is Bromley Green Gym most proud of?

BGG Insect hotel (2)The most striking feature of Bromley’s Green Gym is its 2×5 metre insect hotel which took eight months to complete! We are very proud of it but we also have several other features to be pleased with. Our two pergolas draw the eye towards the mulberry tree at the centre of the Green, six new benches have been put into immediate public use, bird boxes to encourage nesting birds, and our two sets of raised beds. Recently new insect hotels have been received warmly by the local branch of a national chain store and are to be exhibited there.

One member of the public recently said that they thought College Slip was very peaceful when the flowers were blooming!

Where do you get your funding from?

As an independent group we are entirely reliant on raising our own funds and so far we have gained donations from The Chestnut Fund, Waitrose in Bromley and Beckenham, Big Local, Sainsbury’s and also from private sector volunteer days.

You can find Bromley Green Gym on Twitter, Facebook, their work-in-progress website or at College Green every Friday from 11.00 – 14.00!

There are also Green Gym in Whitehall & Penge