PEOPLE are being asked to help fund a vital service that helps victims of sexual violence in Dorset.

Sexual Trauma and Recovery Services (STARS Dorset) has been chosen as one of the projects supported by the Aviva Community Fund.

With the help of Aviva the charity has set up a Crowdfunding page, it’s first ever, and is asking the local community to pledge their support and help STARS Dorset raise funds to ensure its services are available to all those who need their support across Dorset during these unprecedented times.

The charity is hoping to raise £2500 to cover the increased costs it has and will incur from continuing to support clients through and after COVID-19. Before the pandemic hit its Counselling Service and Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Service were provided as one to one, face to face support services. Due to the restrictions put in place the charity has changed the way it works and in doing so it has and will continue to incur costs such as creating an online assessment team, training all its counsellors to be proficient in online counselling and covering additional phone and video platform costs. The charity is hoping through the money raised it will be able to create and maintain its free support services enabling everyone across Dorset continued access to its services.

Helen Stevens, Service Manager at STARS Dorset, said: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have extended the hours of our Listening Support Line Service and our Live Chat capabilities and ensured our Counsellor and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors could continue to support our clients. Last year we supported over 1800 people in Dorset and we want to ensure we are able to maintain this level of support and more. We’re very excited to launch our first ever Crowdfunding page and hope the local community will pledge so we can continue our work across Dorset.”

The Aviva Community Fund supports small charities with forward-thinking ideas across the UK with funding, vital support and resources all year round. This year the Aviva Community Fund has teamed up with online fundraising platform, Crowdfunder, to give eligible causes in the Fund the chance to learn valuable crowdfunding skills and inspire support from Aviva employees and the public. building stronger communities with the new backing for their clever idea.

STARS Dorset offers a counselling service, an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor service, a Support Line and a dedicated Children and Young People service. All its services are free. During COVID-19 the charity has increased the hours of it’s Telephone Support Line service and is continuing to offer all its services via telephone and video link.

To pledge your support for the campaign please visit their Crowdfunding page here: