We launched our first pilot project in january 2020 called ‘Bridging the Gap’.
The pilot project’s aim was to ‘bridge the gap’ between the Corporate, Public and Third Sector in order to Break the Cycle of Domestic Abuse across Communities in Essex.
Alpha Vesta advocate bridging this gap by encouraging workplaces, businesses and organisations to invest in robust, grassroots, practical training and policy development services in a preventative and early intervention approach.
Alpha Vesta was founded in 2019 by Lucy Whittaker.
Lucy spent many years working as a Complex Caseworker in the field of domestic abuse where she also specialised in child protection. This work meant engaging with those that had already reached ‘crisis point’ and so through combining frontline experience with academic studies, Lucy founded a Community Interest Company (CIC) that understands the lived experience of a domestic abuse victim, but also understands many of the complex systems, organisations, services, people, and interventions that are designed and available to respond to it.
With the support of Hogan Lovells, it was important to Lucy that Alpha Vesta be established as a CIC, to ensure that any profits are channelled back into supporting community projects, providing preventative and early intervention, training, and support.
Lucy spent several years conducting ground level research and in 2019 the Home Office Report on the Social and Economic Costs of Domestic Abuse was published.
The findings from this report highlighted the hidden costs that domestic abuse poses to all businesses whether they have 5 or 5000 employees. The report estimated the social and economic cost for victims of domestic abuse in 2016/17 in England and Wales to be approximately £66 billion. The cost to the economy itself stands at around £14 billion per year which is directly felt by employers through lost workdays, absence, and lower productivity but also indirectly through mental health issues, distracted and frightened workers and low morale across teams. Shockingly, the average unit cost for a domestic abuse victim is calculated at £34,015, whilst preventative costs were calculated at a mere £5 per person.
In searching for solutions to mediate against this huge social and economic impact of domestic abuse, Lucy evidenced some shocking discoveries.
Not only was there a clear a lack of effective, robust, relevant, and non-biased awareness and preventative work available, but there was also a distinct lack of understanding around what domestic abuse was, what it incorporates and subsequently what the impact and complexities are that surround it. This was further fuelled by many myths and stereotypes creating barriers in recognising and responding at an earlier point.
And so, in January 2020 Alpha Vesta pioneered and piloted the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project for 1 year funded by the PFCC for Essex. Businesses and organisations across Essex were invited to take part in the project in the following ways: –
- To display awareness posters and leaflets across their business/organisation.
- To host a presentation for staff and colleagues on breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.
- To attend awareness and training workshops to build understanding.
- To review or build policies and procedures relating to domestic abuse.
However, as the country went into lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Lucy was forced to review how the project was to be delivered, coupled with growing concerns of the impact the pandemic would have on people living with domestic abuse. Therefore, all presentations and training sessions were moved to an online format, so that they were accessible, not only across the county of Essex, but across the country and the world.
The first online session was delivered on 22 April 2020 and with additional funding provided by the National Lottery Community Fund has meant that we can continue to deliver our fully-funded work across Essex until at least summer 2024.
delivering on our vision and Mission
- We have grown our public training portfolio which is consistently and robustly reviewed.
- Created CPD accredited pathways.
- Developed and delivered bespoke training packages (fully-funded across Essex and chargeable for those based outside the county).
- Increased our consultancy services through development and review of policies, procedures, and guidance.
- Successfully piloted support programs to help clients build positive community connections post abuse to move forward on their journey.
Our Survivor and Insight Network sits at the heart of our work, ensuring we remain relevant and connected with those most affected by domestic abuse either directly or indirectly. Alongside this, sits our Community Advocate Scheme which is fully-funded by the PFCC for Essex, to acknowledge and recognise those businesses and organisations demonstrating their continued commitment and support of our vision and mission. The scheme requires no financial investment but focuses on a commitment to working together to ‘break the cycle’ of domestic abuse and to inspire others to make a difference.
Here at Alpha Vesta, we are passionate about our work and considered specialists in our field. Together with a dedicated Board of Directors, Employees, Ambassadors and Volunteers, we have developed a strong reputation and brand across Essex with businesses, organisations, and clients that we work with.
Together, if we can reach people sooner, we can ‘break the cycle’ of domestic abuse. supporting those affected at an earlier point in their journey does change lives, it even saves lives.