It’s taken nearly 20 months, but Congleton Town Council was delighted to receive the news that the White Ribbon UK has granted the Council official White Ribbon accredited status in recognition of its work to end male violence against women. This will be announced at the Town’s Community and Environment Committee on Thursday 24th September.
The Town Council approved setting up a working group and aiming for White Ribbon accreditation in January 2019. Since then staff and councillors have attended White Ribbon awareness courses, local events have been held at the Makers Market and Christmas Fayre, more than 150 local people have signed the White Ribbon Pledge, new domestic abuse clinics have been set up working with Cheshire Police and My Cheshire Without Abuse (MyCWA) and an action plan has been drawn up to build the campaign.
To wear the White Ribbon a person or organisation is pledging never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence towards women.
Chair of Congleton’s White Ribbon Working Group, Cllr Robert Hemsley said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Congleton Town Council and I would like to thank all the members of the working group for their hard work to make it possible. Across the UK there are less than a hundred organisations that have received this status. We intend to use this award to build momentum and get more groups, organisations, businesses and individuals in Congleton involved. Work starts Saturday 26th September at the Makers Market where we have a stall from 10am – 4pm. It would be great to see a steady stream of people signing the pledge and getting their stickers and helping to grow the White Ribbon movement in Congleton.”
Members of the Congleton’s White Ribbon Working Group are Cllr Robert Hemsley (Chair), Cllr Robert Douglas, Cllr George Hayes, Cllr Mark Rogan, Cllr Kay Wesley, David McGifford, Richard Walton, and Peter Munro. Interest in the White Ribbon campaign began following a visit by Chris Green OBE, president of White Ribbon UK, to a Women’s Forum held in Congleton by the Labour Group. It was then brought to the Town Council by Richard Walton and Peter Munro who continue to be members of the Town Council’s White Ribbon Working Group.
Cllr Kay Wesley, Chair of Congleton Town Council’s Community and Environment Committee added: “In Congleton we have the equivalent of one incident of domestic abuse reported to the Police every day and we know that this crime is under-reported. As a member of the Women’s Equality Party I am delighted that the whole Council has come together to show support and willingness to challenge attitudes that lead to gender-based violence. We are very grateful for the ongoing support and excellent services of Cheshire Police and myCWA in this campaign and look forward to continuing to work for them to reduce violence and abuse in Congleton.”
Commenting on the award, Detective Inspector Claire Jesson of Cheshire Police: “Cheshire Police have been working to deliver an excellent victim-centric service to tackle domestic violence and abuse across Cheshire. We are very happy to have the support of Congleton Town Council in combatting this devastating crime and it is great news that the Town Council has achieved White Ribbon Accreditation. We look forward to working closely with them with the recent introduction of the face to face domestic abuse clinics we have introduced in the town.”
Saskia Lightburn-Richie, CEO of My Cheshire Without Abuse said: “We provide a range of services for victims of domestic abuse, but we also work with perpetrators, because in order to eradicate abuse it is perpetrators who must change their behaviour. White Ribbon is important because it is all about preventing those behaviours that can lead to abuse. Congratulations to Congleton Town Council on its White Ribbon Accreditation and we look forward to continuing to work together for families in Congleton”.
Congleton Town Council is interested in hearing from anyone interested in being a White Ribbon ambassador or Champion and working with the Council to make Congleton a place where everyone lives free from fear of violence and abuse. You can find out more by visiting the stall at the Makers Market in the Fairground car park, Saturday 26th September, or join the 33,000 people across the UK who have made the pledge at www.whiteribbon.org.uk