SWINDON Cares has launched a packed events programme to support victims of domestic violence in the town.

Committee members of the group met with business leaders on Tuesday to finalise fundraising plans for two local charities who work in the field. Having raised £18,000 for charities last year, Swindon Cares is now looking to boost Swindon Women’s Aid and The Nelson Trust through a variety of entertaining events.

Bill Fishlock, Vice Chairman of Swindon Cares, said: “We look at criteria for charities we’ve chosen and this time we wanted to have a look at domestic violence. Both of these charities effectively work in that area – it’s an important issue.”

“We like to have a rest in November for a couple of months after a long period of fundraising, but now that it’s April we’re ready to launch the new fundraising year.”

North Swindon pub The Tawny Owl is facilitating the fundraising drive with a live music event on May 19, as is Christ Church which is due to host performers on June 2. The Village de Vere is laying on a big quiz on June 20, while separate golf and Bridge events are pegged in for September and October at other local venues.

Mr Fishlock, who has been a Rotarian for 40 years, said: “The charity sector is always under pressure as money is not coming from local authorities. Most charities work on the basis of voluntary donations, but they’ve been getting less and less over the past five or ten years due to austerity.”

He added: “Swindon Cares is a mechanism of working with charities in need.”

Olwen Kelly, Director of Swindon Women’s Aid, said: “The Swindon Cares fundraising is really important. We rely heavily on fundraising and volunteers as we’re quite a small charity. It’s made a hell of a difference for the 47 children living in refuge who use our services.

“Domestic abuse is a large problem not just in Swindon but nationally, and it’s still unfortunately a taboo subject. People may not realise we can offer services for them.”

Swindon Women’s Aid is a domestic abuse service for residents living in the Swindon area. It works with local communities to raise awareness of the issue.

A Women’s Centre was opened by the Nelson Trust in 2013 to serve the Wiltshire area. It provides a women-only space where a range of support needs can be addressed in a safe and supportive environment.

To date, Swindon Cares has raised over £267,000 by maintaining links with leaders across the town. Funds raised this year will be split evenly between the two chosen charities. Visit the Swindon Cares Website for more details: http://swindoncares.co.uk/

In attendance at the event were: Swindon mayor Maureen Penny, managing director of Arkell’s Brewery George Arkell, Swindon Cares vice chairman Bill Fishlock, chief executive of The Nelson Trust John Trolan, High Sheriff of Wiltshire Nicola Alberry, chief executive of Swindon Women’s Aid Olwen Kelly, and manager of Zurich Community Trust Jane Fox.