Local Gumley student, Neve Kidson, 16, has raised nearly £300 for the charity Refuge. The organisation’s aim is to provide specialist support to women and children facing domestic abuse. As a focus piece in the media at the moment, domestic violence had increased by at least 10% in the last year. With members of the community like Neve, she helps to raise awareness of this social problem, reminding all that it needs to be talked about, not shunned away from!

Refuge first opened in Chiswick, 1971. They were ‘the worlds first safe house’ for women and children when people began to realise that this kind of behaviour was not okay. Still today they continue to provide temporary accommodation, a safe space for those seeking refuge from domestic abuse, support, fundraise and campaign.

This is Neve Kidson’s first solo fundraising project. Although she has taken part in past school and extra-curricular fundraising programmes, nothing has been conducted by herself and to this scale! Her aim is to run 100km over the 40-day Lenten period as a way of giving back to the community. Neve’s goal was to raise £100, however, with some extraordinary supporters and her hard work, has been able to raise nearly £300 so far! In an online interview I asked Neve about why she had chosen Refuge as her charity. She answered, ‘For my Christmas present this year, I donated money to this charity Refuge.’ Neve continues to explain that charities like Refuge who support domestic abuse victims need support during the COVID crisis, which is still ongoing, ‘I feel as if domestic abuse is something which has been overlooked during the pandemic and not given enough funding and support by the government.’ Although, yes, most recently it has started to spark in the news, over the past year we have heard little about domestic abuse, which has most definitely raised in the past year. She continued explain, ‘Being a female myself, I wanted to raise money for a cause which helped women and helped people who have struggled so much more than I have, especially during the crisis.’

Following up these questions, I asked why running? Out of all the ways to raise money, why did she feel running 100km was right for her? Neve answered, ‘I’ve recently taken up running since the start of the pandemic and honestly it has made me feel happier, fitter and just been a way of me coping with everything.’ No doubt physical exercise is a good way to relieve stress and tension during this difficult period. With the limited things we can do outside, going for a daily run in the park is what our bodies deserve. Neve explains how she feels by running such a distance would be a good challenge for her, as well as appropriate for this charity.

Is this just the start for Neve? When asked whether she would continue to raise money Neve answered, ‘Definitely! I actually really want to do this every year during Lent, so instead of giving something up, I can raise money or do something along those lines.’ Undoubtedly, the charity Refuge is extremely important, and more so during these times! They will need continuing support now and after the pandemic.

For more information about the charity Refuge visit their website: https://www.refuge.org.uk/

To support Neve and continue to raise money for Refuge visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nevekidson

Any and all donations are welcomed!