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Meet the Wanstead mum on a mission to help London’s vulnerable women

PUBLISHED: 10:00 01 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:08 04 May 2017

Christina Harvey and Georgie Chambury in their Women in Need sweatshirts.

Christina Harvey and Georgie Chambury in their Women in Need sweatshirts.

Archant

A Wanstead mum has found an innovative new way to help survivors of domestic abuse across east London.

Christina Harvey, 41, founded the Women in Need facebook page after she spotted a post on the social media site asking for someone to donate a pram to a London refuge for women who were victims of domestic violence.

Three years later, the group has 1,600 members across Redbridge and east London, and makes an amazing difference to women and children currently staying at the refuge.

But now, with increasing demand for items such as underwear and towels, which can not be donated secondhand, Christina and her fellow Women in Need founder Georgie Chambury have launched an innovative new way to raise money for vulnerable women.

“We didn’t want to keep asking the group members to go out of their way to buy underwear or other things, so we decided to try something different and the response has been fantastic.”

A guaranteed £5 from every sweatshirt sold goes immediately to the refuge, and whatever money is left over when costs are covered is plied back into the refuge in the form of packs of essential toiletries and other neccessities that are handed out regularly at the refuge.

“What we do makes an immediate difference to the lives of these women. We might not always do it but we aim to get anything they ask for within 72 hours.

“I know that is sometimes unrealistic but I’m always really hard on myself.”

But it isn’t always that easy. Christina told the Recorder of one particularly difficult request – a mother in need of a triple buggy for her three young children.

After members of the Women in Need facebook page managed to track one down in Portsmouth.

Once the buggy had been found, the husband of one group member who was visiting southern England agreed to pick the buggy up and bring it back to London.

Christina said: “In the real world if a mum desperately needed something like that she would have to ask for a grant or something and wait for it to be approved. That could take months.

“It was a very tricky one but we managed to get a buggy to her within two weeks.”

And Christina believes the scheme’s success is testament to the selflessness of the Wanstead community and beyond.

She said: “I think Redbridge as a whole, not just Wanstead, really is a good area for things like this. I think we are a real community.”

To read more about the work Christina and Georgie do visit womeninneedlondon.com.

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