Salford Survivor Project launched a new campaign last Monday called Walk Away for Wings to raise awareness for domestic and family abuse.
Running from the 8th February, to International Women’s Day on the 8th March, the charity is encouraging people to walk, or take exercise, every day of the month.
Founder of Salford Survivor, Jane Gregory, said: “The Walk Away for Wings campaign is in memory of every person that has been taken by domestic abuse, and the idea behind the campaign is that these people can’t walk away because they’re not here.
“The wings in Salford Survivor are about these angel wings, but also about butterfly wings. If you’re a butterfly you can fly away and you’ve got freedom, so the butterfly’s a symbol for domestic abuse.
“And right at this moment we’re in lockdown, so people can’t just leave, or they’re too scared to, so this is about walking for them, and while we’re doing that walk, we’re hoping to inspire others, get confidence, and obviously raise money.”
The money raised from the scheme will help fund the vital work the charity carries out, including training for volunteers and providing clients with food, clothes, taxis and accommodation.
For those who wish to join the Walk Away for Wings Campaign, there is a Facebook group which currently has 109 members, and has raised nearly £2000 already.
Jane said: “The Walk Away for Wings group is for people who want to take the challenge, and it’s about building self-respect and being empowering. We have asked people for a £10 registration fee because if they’re paying for something then they’re more likely to stick to it, but we have waived it occasionally.
“Just join the group, and we’ll badger you to get fit, get emotionally healthy, even when it’s freezing, just get yourself out. If you can’t walk, it’s about pushing yourselves to do a little bit more of whatever you can do.
“At the same time, get involved with the group. We’ve got a competition on for people to engage with other people’s posts, so that when people contribute, they feel like they’ve been heard. It’s about validation.”
Salford Survivor Project became a charity in 2018 but was set up in 2013 after the tragic deaths of two young mothers, Leanne Mcnuff and Linzi Ashton, due to domestic abuse.
During the pandemic, the charity’s workload has increased dramatically according to Jane.
“The phoneline went up by 400% during the lockdown! We only used to get about 3 calls a week but sometimes we get around 12 a day now, so a lot more people have needed support.
“We also got a lot of people who had just walked out as it had just gotten that bad, when normally they would plan it. So, then they’re on the street with kids, and we’ve had a lot with babies, and the first thing is to get them somewhere warm, somewhere safe.
“So the work has been crippling at times, there’s been a lot of crisis, but it has also brought a sense of community for us, it’s shown me how great Salford is as a community, city-wide.”
Salford resident, Lorraine Salt, has volunteered for Salford Survivor Project since the beginning, and is currently the individual who has fundraised the most for the campaign, raising £265 in just 6 days.
Lorraine, who works at Tesco, said: “I’m doing it to raise awareness for the charity itself and to get a bit fitter. I think since I’ve been working right the way through the pandemic, you get stuck in a rut – you go to work, you’re coming home, you’re eating unhealthy. It’s also been really stressful at work, so that’s another reason why I put my name up for it.
“Salford Survivor is a really good cause, and it’s been busier than ever during this pandemic with people stuck in the house together, so I think it’s really touched people in that sense, it’s highlighted domestic abuse is a big thing so that’s probably why they’re donating more.”
She added: “I think all the women that are involved in it are fantastic, they’re all posting on our Facebook page being dead empowering, doing lives as they’re walking around. They all just support each other.”
For advice and support from Salford Survivor Project phone 01617060468.