Domestic violence charity offers support through art in Leicester

By Zarina Ahmed

An exhibition to showcase the domestic violence victims have experienced as well as the impact on children is taking place in Leicester.

Charities such as the Zinthaya Trust and Panahghar, both of which focus on helping domestic violence victims, have joined efforts to show Leicester the available support systems in place.

An emotion tree depicting children’s wellbeing as victims of violence

The art included was created by various artists such as victims of violence, children impacted by it, as well as voluntarily by De Montfort University students.

“Anyone accessing help with one of the charities is a massive thing itself,” Ash, a representative from Panahghar said.

As well as adult victims’ artwork being displayed, children’s art is also included, showcasing the impact left behind.

“It’s not an easy thing for an adult, so imagine what a child would have to experience,” Ash said.

Experiencing a shared history with domestic violence herself, Ash participated in being involved with the charity, wanting to spread awareness on helpful and accessible support.

She said: “For me, Leicester was a little naff, yeah, so of course I want to be part of a charity and help people properly.

“This isn’t a nine-to-five-job – we’re always constantly worried about the clients, even afterwards.”

Victims reflect their abuse through face artwork with labels of emotions

The charities involved, as well as Panahghar, provide client-based experiences, based on what victims and clients feel comfortable with at any time.

Under 20 per cent of victims of domestic violence go reported to official care systems or police, the charity’s figures show.

Charities such as Panahghar allow victims to have a safe space to vent to if they’re under threat or feel uncomfortable with the prospect of reporting their perpetrator.

The project to compile the exhibition was made with no official funding and instead organized with contributions from Leicester-based charities as well as the Leicester City Council.

Social prescribing is set to reform Leicester as Oadby community activities expand

By Zarina Ahmed

A programme of linking people to social activities in their community such as group walks has arrived in Oadby to better the mutual well-being of the community.

Known as social prescribing, the Active Oadby and Wigston scheme will support various events with a focus on the social needs of people, connecting them to community services.

Getting together: people gather for one of the community events

Ross Levy, Community Health and Improvement Officer, said: “The programme is already suggesting a great success.

“We provide opportunities, allow the ability to work with other social prescribing agencies, and let people socialise in an active and sustainable way.”

The programme is made up of different activities, such as group walks, tennis events for those with disabilities, football, gardening and more.

Most programmes are entirely free, and are held across different times to ensure a wide availability for people to join in.

The newer events started three weeks ago, meaning not only are they are accessible in terms of price and times, but they also allow people to join in at different times.

Mr Levy said the scheme could also be very useful to help students who move to the city to study to become more aware of wider community activities.

He said: “To step outside the student bubble can be overwhelming, and you’re often detached from the community.

Getting outdoors: one of the walking groups

“Most students might not be aware of social prescribing, so this allows them to join in, to understand it, and to be part of it which could go on to improve their links to the community as well as their own well-being.”

Active Oadby and Wigston has welcomed many participants over the recent year after the coronavirus lockdown and, as a result, he said social prescribing within this community scheme has become a positive event to look forward to.

“Social isolation substantially increased, challenging our programme but our programme improves mental well-being because it’s important,” Mr Levy added.

The group walks, one of the most popular events, commence from 10am on Tuesdays, while a newer scheme, Let’s Grow, begins at 1pm on Thursdays.

For more details about the Active Oadby and Wigston project, visit the Our Programmes section on its website