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Solace Women's Aid - Kalina

City Harvest Festival 'Kindness is Powerful' Series

Kalina Shah – Refuge Manager - Solace Women’s Aid

City Harvest has delivered 39 tonnes of free food = 91k meals

Preventing 144.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases

Retail Value: £118,557

City Harvest has provided food to 6 different addresses starting in 2017, saving the charity money that can be spent on other services for the guests.

Solace Women’s Aid exists to end the harm caused by violence against women and girls.

Kalina has been a refuge worker for 2.5 years and previously worked with other women’s charities. In Camden, she currently looks after 3 families and 2 single women who have escaped abuse. Kalina explains,

"Our aim is to work to prevent violence and abuse as well as providing services to meet the needs of survivors particularly women and girls. Our work is holistic and empowering, working alongside survivors to achieve independent lives free from abuse."

Kalina explains, “The women here are on extremely limited budgets and find it very hard to support themselves with the universal credit while they are not working, especially women with families. A single person receives about £70-80 a week which leaves little for food."

At Solace, all women have experienced domestic violence, possibly sexual abuse, emotional, verbal or financial abuse. Risks of honor-based violence, sexual violence, coercive control – they all experience more than one. Some have children, and Solace helps with contact issue with children who are not with their mothers.

“The families are so grateful for the fresh food, milk, and yogurts. The ready meals have really helped people who don’t feel up to cooking or cannot cook, we also have a large freezer so are able to freeze these as emergency meals.

We often request halal meat and vegetarian food for our Muslim and vegetarian guests. City Harvest is great at providing food for our guests’ requirements.”

Sandra’s Story

(The resident’s name has been changed to protect her identity) & daughter

Women and children who come to our refuge often come with very little, and some families arrive with just the clothes on their backs. The women living here have experienced different types of domestic abuse, such as emotional and physical abuse, but can often experience financial abuse as well. Women who come to the refuge after being financially abused are often destitute and in need of food bank vouchers. While the food banks are very helpful, the healthy donations received from City Harvest are extremely helpful in providing fresh fruit and veg to go with non-perishable food.

Sandra lived at the refuge with her 3-year-old daughter for about a year. The family arrived at the refuge with very little, as they recently moved to the UK to live with a family member who became incredibly abusive. When she first came to us, she had no recourse to public funds and was being provided with subsistence funds from social services to meet her and her daughter’s basic needs.

With money being so tight, the City Harvest food donation was very helpful in supplementing their food supply and helping them to have healthy meals. The food that Sandra was able to secure at the food bank or buy for her daughter and herself was often non-perishable items like rice, pasta, and canned food. With the help of City Harvest bringing fruit, veg, bread, and a variety of snacks, Sandra was able to provide her daughter with a varied diet that she otherwise would not have been able to afford.

The families who live in our refuge make the house their home, and the food donations from City Harvest help our families to make meals for themselves and their families that strengthen those feelings of being at home, which helps in their healing.

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