Watford FC and ex-England Goalkeeper, Ben Foster together with Wales & Watford FC Women’s Forward, Helen Ward and London’s leading car dealership, Alan Day Group have teamed up with Watford Women’s Centre to challenge domestic violence in Watford and across Hertfordshire by taking part in a £5,000 fundraiser to help domestic abuse victims.
The #ChooseToChallenge fundraiser launched yesterday (Thursday, March 4) as part of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. IWD 2021 aims to challenge gender-based inequalities by raising awareness and demanding action on issues affecting women.
Nationally, one in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England. Within East of England, Hertfordshire is the second-highest county in the region for the number of domestic abuse related crimes experiencing a 68% increase since 2016.
The COVID lockdowns have resulted in a 50% increase in demand for services for mental health counselling at Watford Women’s Centre.
Ben Foster said: “I am reaching out to all Watford FC and England football fans and asking them to join me to challenge domestic abuse by donating to this worthy cause. Domestic abuse is totally unacceptable and I urge you all to donate and challenge this crime and make a difference.”
Helen Ward said: “Every £100 raised will help Watford Women’s Centre provide one woman with urgent domestic abuse counselling to enable her to achieve personal freedom and take back control of her life. The lockdowns have caused a crisis in domestic abuse against women and I know the football community will join me in challenging this by digging deep and donating to Watford Women’s Centre.”
Marc Skuce from the Alan Day Group said: “As sponsors of Watford FC and Watford FC Women’s, we are delighted to bring this partnership together in support of Watford Women’s Centre. We need 500 generous football fans to donate a minimum of £10 to reach our fundraising target of £5k.
“In exchange for your donation, you will be in with a chance of winning some fantastic football prizes including signed shirts from Helen and Ben, two tickets to a Watford FC 2021-22 season match and two hospitality tickets for the Watford FC 2021-22 season.”
Fiona Miller, CEO of Watford Women’s Centre said: “As the only integrated and specialist domestic abuse support service for women in Watford and across Hertfordshire we are on the front line of local domestic abuse and we see the tragic mental and physical consequences on domestic abuse every day. We are thrilled that Ben, Helen and the Alan Day Group have come forward to support our #ChooseToChallenge fundraising campaign helping us to deliver more counselling services in response to COVID-19 lockdowns.”
To donate to the Watford Women’s Centre #ChooseToChallenge campaign and be in with the chance of winning a Ben Foster or Helen Ward signed shirt, two tickets to a Watford FC 2021-22 Season Match, or two hospitality tickets to a Watford FC 2021-22 Season Match please visit justgiving.com/campaign/ChooseToChallengeDomesticAbuse