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Byline: JAMIE MCLOUGHLIN ECHO Writer @jmcloughlin

A WOMAN is appealing to the people of Merseyside for donations which could make a world of difference to women facing a festive season in one of the area's refuges.

Rachel O'Hare is the co-founder of Elle for Elle, a charity started last year which aims to provide women who have fled abusive situations at home with the essentials they so often forget to take with them.

The shoeboxes treat for women She set up the initiative alongside make-up artist Lynette Page-Collin when they had a surplus of beauty products in the run-up to Christmas last year, items they knew could go to deserving homes.

Rachel, 42, from Birkenhead, told the ECHO: "I had lots of unwanted gifts and Lynette is sent a lot of make-up by beauty PRs who would like her to review them."

The pair decided to separate them out into shoeboxes which could then be donated to worthy causes.

provide a in crisis Rachel continued: "I was a counsellor at a woman's centre in Halton for four years, so I had seen victims of domestic abuse and what happens to them, "They often have to leave their homes in the middle of the night, sometimes with a police escort, and in those situations they always prioritise the children, make sure they have their clothes and their favourite toys with them. They don't think about what they need.

"Women have turned up at refuges without shoes before now." Refuges seemed the ideal place to offer the shoeboxes, and it soon became clear that the women staying there were incredibly grateful to receive then and not just because they were a nice gift to have.

Rachel explained: "We get feedback from the support workers. For the women, it's nice to know that someone else is thinking about them, especially at this time of year. It's all about building confidence as well.

"Because of that, we do beauty days. It's where hairdressers, beauticians, masseuses and reflexologists offer a day of treatment to a group of women." In its first year, Elle for Elle has donated 25,000 products to where they are needed and there is still time to donate for this Christmas.

Boxes will be collected at designated points right up to December 18. If you would like to donate a box, orfindoutmore about the charity, visit ONE woman who will be helping Elle for Elle distribute their beauty shoeboxes in time for Christmas is Emma (not her real name).

Eight years ago, she walked away from an abusive relationship and wants to use that experience to help other women who are still suffering.

She said: "I'd been in a very violent relationship.

"When I left that night, I had my mobile phone, my car keys, my car and that was it. You don't have clothes, never mind luxuries like a decent shower gel, lipsticks, things like that. You have to leave everything behind.

"As a woman, we all know the wonders that make-up does.

"For someone to have gone out and filled up a shoebox with treats for you, putting things like a bath bomb in there, these things that we take for granted, can make you feel amazing."


The shoeboxes provide a treat for women in crisis

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 30, 2018
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