When Nicky Brindley found out that she had been nominated for a Member of the Order of the British Empire, she gasped in shock and thought it was a hoax…
The Department for Work and Pensions work coach is being honoured for implementing specialist workers at job centres across the country, to help people who are at risk of domestic violence to access support.
The ground-breaking project was pioneered by Nicky. There was previously no support like this for men or women who fear for their life because of a partner. The specialist support workers are based within at the job centre and are trained to spot the warning signs of domestic violence and offer advice and support to those fleeing dangerous households.
Nicky said “I wanted to make the job centre a safe space. We have had women accessing our services who have no control over their finances. Coercive and controlling partners would get the benefits put into their account.”
“I noticed that there was a real lack of support and safe spaces for people suffering from abuse within the household. Normally people can feel safe and relax in their home – that just isn’t the case for people in this situation”.
She was a victim of domestic violence in her teens and it inspired her to run appeals to support other vulnerable mothers and children. It is her aim to make sure that everyone in a refuge after fleeing a dangerous situation has clothes, toiletries and food supplies.
Throughout December she collected over 4,000 items and delivered them over to six refuges and 60 outreach families in Nottingham, so that no child who has lived through violence woke up on Christmas morning with no presents to open.
When Nicky started working at the job centre ten years ago, she was always involved in fundraising. Her work with domestic violence victims started in 2015, after making connections with Nottingham Central Women’s Aid and refugees for fleeing victims.
The mother of one said: “A lot of the women we signposted to a refuge would only have the clothes on their back. I started collecting toiletries and clothes to take with me on visits and it quickly escalated to makeup, clothes, Christmas presents and Easter eggs. The location of the refuges is secret because the women in them are so vulnerable, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t live a normal life.
Nicky will go to Buckingham Palace on the March 5 with her husband Luke and daughter Courtney to collect her MBE.
She said “I am so proud to be recognised for all of the work I have been doing. I hope to stop the stigma that surrounds domestic incidents. The more we talk about it, the better.”
“I am a bit nervous though, we got a very official letter with a dress code! I think I have decided on my dress, but I’m still on the hunt for a nice fascinator”.
This week Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping called on the government to provide new funding for domestic violence refuge services.
He said: “In Nottinghamshire we have strong local commitment to tackling domestic abuse. Almost half our 77 refuge units are currently funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. If further MHCLG funding is not secured, we will be unable to sustain them locally.”