First ‘friends’ sign up to Women’s Aid
More than 40 guests joined Lochaber Women’s Aid (LWA) last Friday to celebrate the organisation’s 15 years of service.
Displays in Duncansburgh MacIntosh Church Hall gave statistics about the use of the service over the years and involved partner organisations which work alongside LWA. The exhibition included personal accounts from women, children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse. Visitors to the exhibition were visibly moved by the displays.
The afternoon also saw the first recruits signing up to become ‘Friends of Lochaber Women’s Aid’.
The event, formally opened by Kate Forbes MSP, included guest speakers Dr Marsha Scott, Detective Inspector Craig Thomson and Stephen Kennedy from McIntyre & Company, which also delivered informative panel sessions about the new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill and legal measures to protect and support women and children affected by domestic abuse.
Liz Fotheringham, the first women’s support worker in Lochaber and now a board member of LWA, spoke with fondness, humour and emotion about the trials and experiences of the early years of the service before cutting a celebratory birthday cake.
Karen MacInnes, chairwoman of LWA, thanked the board and staff of LWA, past and present, for their service over the 15 years but most of all wished to give praise to the service users themselves.
Referencing the recent funding cuts made by Highland Council, Karen called on the Scottish Government and Highland Council to provide long-term funds to safeguard future provision of the service in Lochaber.
She left the audience with the question: ‘What does it say about our society when we are cutting a lifeline service and leaving them to try to make up the difference with local fundraising in the community?’
Liz Fotheringham, left, the first women’s support worker in Lochaber, cuts the special 15th birthday cake and, below, more than 40 people visited the exhibitions.