AFC Bournemouth’s first team squad have donated a significant sum to the area’s domestic abuse outreach and refuge services.
Following discussions last week, the players have made the collective gesture directly to Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA), which supports survivors of domestic abuse across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
BCHA has two safe houses for people escaping domestic abuse, currently housing 36 families. This includes a space specifically for men, self-contained apartments and some with shared kitchens. In addition, outreach work supports individuals and families living in their own accommodation.
The service supports survivors to rebuild their lives free from abuse, both at its services and in the community through an outreach service.
Cherries first team players have also made a number of private and significant donations to charities which are close to their hearts, while the squad have contributed to the national #PlayersTogether initiative, which is supporting and assisting NHS charities.
“In such difficult times, it is important that we support those in need,” explained AFC Bournemouth captain, Simon Francis.
“Each individual in the dressing room has charities and causes which mean a lot to them, and the players have been supporting those in their own ways.
“But working in the community is what this club is all about, and so we also wanted to come together as a squad to provide significant funds for something in the local area.
“Deciding to donate to the refuge services was a decision that was made together. We are aware that figures relating to domestic abuse have surged since the country went into lockdown, so these safe houses and support services are more important than ever.”
BCHA’s CEO, Martin Hancock, said: “This gesture by the squad will have a direct impact on some of our community’s most vulnerable people at this challenging time.
“It will enable BCHA to provide additional support for the children living in these refuges who are facing a lot of uncertainty and instability.
“On behalf of our customers and staff I want to thank the AFC Bournemouth players for their generosity and commitment to the community.’’
Domestic abuse can affect anyone and take many forms. For advice and support, contact the BCHA helpline on 01202 710777.