CHARITY founder Vickie Robertson will be taking on her next challenge in order to support victims of domestic abuse.
She will be running the Brighton Half on Sunday, February 23, in aid of Kaleidoscopic UK. The charity is run by, and supports survivors of domestic abuse.
The fundraising target is £500, which will be split equally between Kaleidoscopic UK and her 16-year-old nephew, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for bladder cancer.
Currently the charity runs two support groups in Wokingham for women suffering from domestic abuse. With the funds raised, Vickie hopes to organise a Woodley group for survivors, starting in April.
She explained: “We are uniquely survivor-led and there are no specific criteria for coming to these groups. These women have suffered all kinds of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
“We are a safe space for people to come and offload, have tea, coffee, cake and tissues. You can talk or not if you don’t want to.
“You think you’re alone, I suffered for 13 years and didn’t realise what was going on. I was one of the lucky ones to get out: Two women a week still lose their lives to domestic violence in this country.”
Speaking about the half-marathon, she said: “I’ll be running with my IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor), which is quite poignant, knowing how far we’ve come. I’m three years out of that relationship now. This is a big celebration and a big challenge.
“I’m excited, I’ll have my vegan jelly babies for energy. I told my nephew Aunty Vickie was going to run and that made him laugh, so that was worth it.”
To get help from Kaleidoscopic UK, women can either self-refer by emailing the charity or be referred through Women’s Aid, Citizens Advice, Berkshire Young Carers and various other organisations.
Vickie also hopes to help men and children who are experiencing domestic abuse: “It’s not only women who suffer, we are planning to start a men’s group this year, and we’re looking for locations for a children’s group, a safe space for mums to have fun, and to engage with their kids again.
“When you’re living with an abusive relationship, all the fun is sucked out of the family. We can help with the recovery, but there’s not enough support nationally, there’s no specific plan for children who are suffering and they are often the forgotten victims.”
The charity will also launch a separate six-week training programme, the Liberation programme, where survivors learn the signs and symptoms of abuse, and how to break the cycle for good. Women can self-refer through email, or be referred by the above groups and can be new to Kaleidoscopic UK.
Mr Robertson said: “We’ll give women tools that will empower them through knowledge, understanding and experience, teaching them how to not go back.”
The group is free to join and will run in Wokingham, beginning on Wednesday February 26.
She continued: “We need to keep the conversation open and raise awareness.
“It’s so vital we teach our children what a healthy relationship looks like. Abuse definitely changes us, but it doesn’t define us.”
It’s a busy time for Vickie: she will also be one of the speakers at DASH charity’s Celebration of International Women’s Day, on Friday, March 6, in Reading. She has been nominated for the Alice Driver award for Inspirational Women. In April, the charity will host a Child Abuse Prevention Convention conference at the FBC Centre in Finchampstead.
For more information visit the Kaleidoscopic UK Facebook page. Ms Robertson’s fundraiser can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/vickie039s-brighton-half-go-gogo