We left the Isle of Skye three months ago. On 5th January we loaded car and van with no real clue where we were going or how we would get there. I had plans in place but with all the Councils and Estate Agencies closed for Christmas it was impossible to really be sure. I knew we had the use of a caravan high on a hill for as long as we needed. I knew Moray Council knew we were coming. I knew Women’s Aid knew we were coming.
Because of the circumstances, we were offered refuge in the Women’s Aid shelter in either Dingwall or Elgin, but the dog and the cat couldn’t come. They would have had to have been fostered out. I couldn’t have coped with that. I couldn’t have put Niamhy-Woof, my 15 year old lab/ collie cross and most loyal friend into foster care. So, for me, it wasn’t a real option. I was determined to find us a house, a home, a school, a beach.
Women’s Aid on Skye talked me through all my options. I had no money. I was ill. But I had to get away. I had to turn a nightmare into something else. I had to make an adventure out of all the stress. And I did. As soon as the estate agency was open for business after the Christmas, I was there, cash in hand, references sorted. They showed me this house and I took it. I took the keys and moved in that afternoon. My daughter started school the next day and Niamhy-Woof played on the beach for the last few months of her life.
It’s taken three months but we are settling. Yes, we have residual fears which we have to work through, and in that, we are still supported by Women’s Aid. Yesterday we saw the shelter we could have gone to. We visited the purpose built unit for women and children who need to flee abuse. It’s an impressive, safe, lovely place and we would have been absolutely fine. Except Woof would have died in someone else’s house.
There was one thing I noticed immediately. One thing I would like to help them with at the moment. I noticed that the shelter in Elgin has many bookcases, but hardly any books. There’s a handful of books all lonely looking, tucked into one corner of the newest bookcase. There are a few more taking up hardly any space on another book case. They have some free books like Treasures from Scottish Book Trust, which looks well read. I see they are trying to build up a library. But where are they going to get books? I can’t afford to buy the books to stock those book cases. I wish I could. But I can do something else. Here I am asking my author friends to donate just one of their titles to Women’s Aid Elgin please. I know book stock is precious to all of us, but if you can, please will you?
I will donate one or two new hot of the press of The January Flower. I will sign them for Women’s Aid. Is there anyone else out who can and will do this? Please?
Their address is Women’s Aid, 57A, Marleon Field, Silvercrest, Elgin, Moray, IV30 4GB
To anyone who does this – thank you!
Due to the incredible response yesterday from all the authors, poets, storytellers and publishers I am now coordinating the re-stocking of all the book shelves in all the Women’s Aid refuges in Scotland. I have had many messages from women who have stayed in shelters and have had nothing to read to their children, or to distract themselves from their situation. We can change this. We are changing this. By the end of today I will have a comprehensive list of addresses for anyone who wants to send a book to Women’s Aid refuges. How good does this feel?
Advice From Women’s Aid Board of Directors “please, no abuse triggers, no stories of abuse, no harrowing tales. Light, uplifting reads. Children’s books. And thank you”.
Ross-shire Women’s Aid would also love some. Their address is Ross-shire Women’s Aid, The Square, George Street, Dingwall, Scotland, IV15 9SA