Lucy’s Update

Welcome to our Summer update edition – We have been incredibly busy since our last newsletter and so I wanted to share a little snap shot of what we have been up to and introduce you to some wonderful people that we have met along the way.

We previously shared with you that we would be attending the Essex Business Partnerships Annual Business Show at Greenwoods Hotel & Spa held in May. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet businesses from across Essex and introduce them to the work of Alpha Vesta and how they can be involved. Our focus was to raise awareness of our Community Advocate Scheme and we were overwhelmed by the way those that we met began to see the value their business can have to help break the cycle of domestic abuse.

Essex Business Partnership

Essex Business Partnerships

Thank you to Sally Sykes, CEO and Karen Cole, Marketing Director for Essex Business Partnerships (EBP) for your support and recognition of the value your organisation can provide in supporting our vision and mission.

EBP have joined our Community Advocate Scheme and have created an action plan that looks at the ways in which their organisation can help raise awareness and build understanding around domestic abuse.  We look forward to the great things we can achieve supporting each other.

21Up Movement

21Up Movement

We are so pleased to have been introduced to Perry Blake founder of the 21Up Movement and look forward to collaborating with you and being part of making a change.

Beresfords Group Ltd

Beresfords Group Ltd

Thank you Nicki Treffers, Beresfords Director of Marketing & New Business, for becoming Community Advocates and already working your magic!


Kingswood Group

The Kingswood Group action plan is already set in motion with such valuable insight and connections already shared. Watch this space people!

21Up Movement

Blue Serif Ltd

Matt and his team at Blue Serif are an amazing example of how business, employees and community can really make a difference. Their ‘Barketing Manager’ has a long career ahead of them!

K Bater

K Bater Consultancy

Our meeting is in the diary for this week and we look forward to speaking with Sara about what actions K Bater can bring to the table to support our mission for early intervention.

Brentwood fc

Brentwood Town F.C.

John Schultz, Director of Commercial & Partnerships for Brentwood Town FC and Chairman, Jez Dickinson, are proud of the club’s connections with the local community and so we welcome them as new Community Advocates.

Community Advocate Scheme

On the 15 June, we formally launched the Community Advocate Scheme alongside Essex Business Partnerships at The Lounge Wine Bar in Ingatestone. We have been developing the foundations of the scheme since the end of 2022 and with the scheme funded by Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for Essex we are full steam ahead, gathering a community force of businesses and organisations that recognise their value in ‘Breaking the Cycle’.

The stars aligned to help bring together an amazing group of people on the night including one of our awesome Ambassadors, Natalie Queiroz MBE, who shared her powerful story in person. Ben-Julian ‘BJ’ Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex Police, and Charles Bishop, High Sheriff of Essex who both shared the importance of awareness, prevention and early intervention around domestic abuse. I was also fortunate enough to be surprised with a High Sheriff personal award.

Lucy Whittaker

Please do reach out to us if you would like to find out more about being a Community Advocate.

Best regards

Lucy Whittaker

Founding Director and Lead Trainer of Alpha Vesta CIC

Karen Phillips

Introducing: Karen Phillips

I’m Karen Phillips and I am a Senior Trainer and Caseworker here at Alpha Vesta.  My background is as a People Professional, with a particular emphasis on Personal Development.  As you can imagine, the work we do at Alpha Vesta sits very much in this space and I find it so rewarding.

I was introduced to Lucy by a HR colleague in the spring of 2020, when I was working as an HR Consultant.  Lucy was busy adapting her training to go online as we had entered lockdown and we supported her in this. 

I was delighted when Lucy contacted me last year and asked me to work on a new project, mentoring survivors of domestic abuse to move forward with their lives.  A year later, this project has grown and grown, becoming incredibly successful and literally changing lives.

I am now also delivering the public training Core Sessions 1-4, which I am really enjoying. Our training sessions are fully funded for organisations within Essex, so very accessible.

One of the things I love about working with Alpha Vesta is their mission to break the cycle of domestic abuse through awareness, prevention and early intervention. There’s a really good balance between academic and ground level research. Working closely with employers, professionals, statutory agencies and survivors, to inform our future work.

We deliver training and consultancy services to employers and support survivors, parents and young people, through our learning and mentoring programmes.


So, a few fun facts about me

  • I retired in 2016!
  • I was an Extra in the film Get Him to the Greek, starring Russell Brand
  • For my 18th birthday on 29th July 1981, there was a big street party. It may have been because Charles and Diana were married that day, I’m not sure.
  • I can’t cook eggs

Long-term Impact Feedback Survey

It is important for us to continue to develop robust training which is meaningful to people from a variety of different sectors and communities. We are very grateful to all of you that take the time to complete the short questionnaire that is shared after each of our sessions.

However, it is also important to us to understand the long lasting impact of our training and how this learning is being used within the workplace and community. Therefore, for those that have completed the training within the last 6 months please can we ask you to complete this short survey link:

Dates for the Diary

New dates are continually being added to our Eventbrite page which you can follow here

 Enhanced Core 4: Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children & Young People - Extra Familial Harm

Enhanced Core 4: Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children & Young People - Extra Familial Harm

Monday 10 July 10am-12pm

Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People – Extra Familial Harm

Advanced: Understanding Risk, Support and Safety Planning

Advanced: Understanding Risk, Support and Safety Planning

Advanced: Thursday 20 July 10am – 1pm

Understanding Risk, Support & Safety Planning

Domestic Abuse in the News – links

Non-Fatal Strangulation

New legislation was introduced in June 2022 on Non-Fatal Strangulation. This is incredibly important in terms of domestic abuse because of its strong links with coercive control. Prior to this new legislation, incidents of non-fatal strangulation were only recorded amongst other ‘violence against the person’ offences. I know as a MARAC Chair, I am seeing increasing cases of charges for NFS which is incredibly important. ITV highlight in this report, the increase in this charge, shining a light on this horrific form of violence and control.

Cost-of-living crisis driving up domestic abuse & criminal exploitation of college students

An article in FE Week highlights the growing numbers of students that are falling victim to domestic abuse and criminal exploitation. This is sadly exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis. We know that criminal exploitation often has a complex link with domestic abuse and its sad to see young people less likely to take up opportunities to study, attend courses and achieve their potential because they are struggling make ends meet as a student.

Religious Teaching linked to Domestic Abuse

Finally, an interesting article in ‘The Church Times’ about how religious teachings may have long been used to excuse and justify abusive behaviour. Their research found that 71 per cent of abusers used Christian teachings to support or excuse it, and 60 per cent of those who said that they had been abused had experienced spiritual abuse. Our ‘Complexity of Domestic Abuse’ session highlights the power of broader community cultures of all kinds that may justify and excuse abuse in complex ways. This creates enormous barriers for a victim/survivor to see and recognise they may be being abused.

National Support & Help

National 24hr Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 For women and children experiencing domestic abuse

Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327 For men experiencing domestic abuse

RESPECT 0808 802 4040 For those concerned that they may be using abusive behaviours

NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000 If you are concerned about a child

Samaritans 116 123 For those struggling in terms of their mental health and feeling in crisis

NCDV 0800 970 2070 free, fast emergency injunction service for survivors of domestic abuse

Essex Regional Support & Help

Alpha Vesta 01245 791281 For employers and employees concerned about a staff member

Compass 0330 333 7 444 Compass is being delivered by a consortium of established domestic abuse support agencies including; Safe Steps, Changing Pathways and The Next Chapter. The aim is to provide a single point of access for callers to speak with a trained member of staff who will complete an assessment and ensure contact is made with the most appropriate support service.

The Change Project 01245 258 680 Committed to preventing conflict in relationships and working with both perpetrators, victims and their children.

Alpha Vesta’s Collated National & Regional Support Services

click here to access document

CPD Provider
Lottery Community Fund
brentwood Chamber
Essex Partnership
Police, fire and crime commissioner for essex
Essex Community Foundation

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