Hospital staff in the Royal Devon & Exeter UNISON branch marked International Women’s Day last week by pledging to help tackle period poverty and support survivors of domestic violence.
The branch committee, which represents over 1,600 health care staff in Exeter, unanimously backed a proposal to support and promote the work of Comfort Exeter and Women’s Aid. After pledging to donate two hundred and fifty pounds to the organisations, the UNISON members are now encouraging colleagues, patients and other local residents to show their support too.
UNISON RD&E Health Branch Women’s Officer, Deborah Boobyer, said:
“UNISON is the largest union for public service workers and the biggest women’s union. It’s important for us to show solidarity to other women when they need it most.
“It’s a travesty that the government’s austerity programme has left services for survivors of domestic abuse so dependent on donations. But as staff in the NHS, we know all too well the harm that funding cuts cause and we’re determined to do what we can to help.”
UNISON RD&E Health Branch Steward, Pauline Champion, said:
“When we heard that Comfort Exeter needed to urgently replenish their supplies of sanitary products for local young women, we knew we had to act. This is what trade unions are all about – taking a stand on important issues to improve the lives of everyone in the community.
“We would really encourage our colleagues and members of the public to show their support, by making a donation to these amazing organisations and getting in touch with our UNISON branch to find out more about getting involved.”
Comfort Exeter is a project set up by the Emergency Department at the RD&E to help vulnerable patients in need. They host a donation point as part of the “Red Box Project”, which seeks to provide free sanitary products for young people in local schools so that no one misses out on their education during their period.
Women’s Aid is a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services and build a future where domestic violence is not tolerated. They support refuges for survivors of domestic violence across the country, including in Devon. You can donate and find more information on the