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Barnsley College donates handbags to local refuge in backpacker’s memory

Nicola Thomson-Dewey and Sally from IDAS

@BarnsleyCollege has donated 25 handbags to an Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS) centre in Barnsley to support a charity campaign set up in memory of Grace Millane who was tragically murdered whilst travelling in New Zealand in 2018, on the eve of her 22nd birthday.

The Love Grace handbag appeal set up by Grace’s family combines her love of handbags with a legacy carried out in her name to end violence towards women.

The bags were filled with luxury items and new, unused toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant, sanitary products, tissues, moisturiser, lip balm, make-up, hair brushes, facewash or soap.

Heather Brennan, IDAS Project Manager Barnsley Refuge, said:

“It’s fantastic that Barnsley College is taking part in the initiative and supporting the campaign. Lots of the women in our care who have been forced to leave home in a rush often arrive having packed for their children but not for themselves. The bags Barnsley College and the community have donated will go a long way towards making a difference. Thank you to everyone involved.”

Nicola Thomson-Dewey, Head of Access to Learning and who is supporting the campaign at Barnsley College, added:

“When someone is escaping a violent relationship or finds themselves in a difficult situation, the last thing they may think about is these types of items. These bags will have such a positive impact just by showing that there are people out there who care. This act of kindness can be beneficial to everyone involved. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has donated.”

Catering tutor Martyn Hollingsworth (whose niece was a friend of Grace at university) and Head of Access to Learning Nicola Thomson-Dewey lead the initiative at Barnsley College by asking for donations of ladies’ handbags (new or in good condition) about 30cm in size filled with toiletries, luxury items and other essentials that could then be donated to help those most in need at women’s refuges.

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