Friday, January 31, 2014

ASN January newsletter

Here is ASN's Janaury newsletter.  Apologies for being slack with posting these over the last few months - tons of stuff has happened in real life which has taken me away from blogging duties.

ASN January Newsletter: Exciting news for the new year!
  • ASN receives a grant from the Feminist Review Trust
  • Success of Holiday Fundraising Appeals
  • Women we’ve helped
  • Volunteer counsellor sought
  • Seeking hosts in Liverpool and Manchester
ASN receives a grant from the Feminist Review Trust
ASN is ECSTATIC to share the news that we have received a grant of £7500 from theFeminist Review Trust. Until recently, ASN has been an all-volunteer organisation (with the exception of a three-day per month stipend for our director). However, in the four years since we launched, we have experienced a threefold increase in calls as more and more women and families have needed our services. With this grant, we are able to pay a part time coordinator for the duration of this year, in order to help ASN meet increased demand from women and families, ensure continued high standards of care and help safeguard the long term sustainability of our work. As this grant is specifically to cover the cost of a part time coordinator, we will continue to fundraise and use donations to help women travel and pay privately for abortions.
Success of Holiday Fundraising Appeals
Speaking of fundraising, thanks so much for everyone who donated to our holiday appeal, to the lovely people in Northern Ireland who pledged a protestor to ensure a pro-choice presence during an anti-choice vigil outside the MSI Belfast clinic, to the fabulous Agender Society at SOAS (Facebook/Twitter), and to Amelia B who raised funds for us via OxFizz. Together it brought in more than £1200, all of which will directly go to helping women living in Ireland and Northern Ireland forced to travel to England.
Women We’ve Helped
In December, ASN “only” heard from 30 women, couples and families. Here are some of their stories, in their own words:
"I'm 15 and I think I'm pregnant, I cannot tell my mum about this or I will be thrown out of the house, I'm really worried and would like to see if it’s possible for me to go to England for an abortion." 
“I'm a student and have no job. There is no way I can afford any treatment like this and having a child is not an option. I don't know how to get money for this. Is there any way you can help me? Please get back to as soon as possible, I am in panic.”  
“Please I need help. I am living in Ireland I am 11 weeks pregnant. I have been evicted from my home and I am homeless. I have a child. I don't have anything no one will help me I have no passport and I honestly am suicidal. This is not my email I am just using it as I have none myself. I don't know where to turn.”
“I’m pregnant but I’m looking for help with an abortion. I can’t carry this child as I’m in a very abusive relationship and he told me if I ever fall pregnant he would kill me and my son that I already have. We are not safe with him and he has left me in hospital numerous times. I’m terrified and I can’t tell my family or anybody else about this as I was told by my family if I stayed with my abusive boyfriend they would disown me. I can’t afford to pay for this abortion...I’ve not even got no proper roof over my head. I’ve so much stress and worry on me.”
Please help. I've tried everything to try to miscarry...I've been drinking excessively, I've tried throwing myself downstairs, and even tried to overdose. I can't have this child. I don't want it!!! I'm completely on my own. No one else knows and I'm at the end of my tether, I feel like I'm going to have a breakdown.”
"I didn't even know abortion was still illegal in this country - I was naive enough to think things had changed. It's so wonderful to know, during this difficult time, that there are people like you who are working to help. Thank you so much." 
We were also able to help a number of women access a safe early medical abortion (abortion with pills) via, including:
A woman who experienced severe mental health issues after the birth of her last child; a mother of four, unable to get childcare while she made the trip to England; and a woman unable to obtain a visa to travel to England.
A woman we couldn’t help.
"I'm calling you in complete and utter desperation" – We spoke to a young woman made homeless after leaving her abusive partner. We agreed to cover the entire cost of her procedure and, if necessary, her flights, but we unfortunately lost contact.
We thank these women and men for allowing us to share their stories. Please note that all monies are written as GBP regardless of where clients are resident, and that “Ireland” can refer to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.
Volunteer counsellor sought
ASN’s phone volunteers spend their days responding to calls and emails from women, couples and families in incredibly desperate circumstances. They are the life blood of our organisation and we are looking for more ways to support them. If you have experience as a counsellor, social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist or other support worker and are interested in providing a bit of support to our team, please contact us
Seeking hosts in Liverpool and Manchester
Do you have a spare room, pull out sofa, or air mattress and the desire to help a woman in need? ASN is seeking a few additional hosts near the bpas Liverpool clinic, the South Manchester Private Clinic, and the MSI Manchester Clinic. You won’t be called to host often but when you are, you will know you are having a direct impact on a woman’s life. We ask that hosts live within a 30 minute commute of the clinic (public transport fine). If interested, please get in touch.

Thank you again for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to provide financial assistance, accommodation and confidential, non-judgemental information to the many women who have contacted us for support.

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