By Lucy Hook
For the women and children spending Christmas in domestic violence refuges, even basic essentials can be a luxury – they have often arrived with little more than the clothes they are standing in.
One Brixton woman however, is determined to change that. Claire Linacre, a 26 year-old children’s charity worker, is collecting donations from the local community and turning them into care packages for women in refuges.
The individual packages are filled with essential items such as shampoo, toothpaste and body lotion and will be delivered to a women’s refuge in Brixton in time for Christmas.
Claire, who lives in Acre Lane, first got involved with the community giving initiative, called Project Shoebox, through Facebook last year. The grassroots project, which was started by a mum of two from Bromley, sends care packages to domestic violence refuges across the country, and last Christmas donated almost 2,000 boxes.
This year, Claire offered to become a local ambassador for the Brixton area, using her spare room as a hub for collecting donations.
She said: “Christmas is the time that for a lot of these women they’ll be feeling lonely and cut off from their families,”
“It’s a chance to make them feel like someone cares. It’s not going to change their circumstances, but it might make their week.”
So far, the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. On the first donation day Claire collected over 150 items, though more are needed to reach her target of 50 complete care packages.
She says: “I hope the packages offer some hope and kindness, and show that people do care.”