Modern slavery is thriving in Berkshire, reveals a police speaker at the Together for Woman lunch attended by Theresa May

The ‘Together for Women’ fund and initiative, launched in 2019 by Berkshire Community Foundation, aims to bring together women to support other women and girls in Berkshire that live with disadvantage or who suffer from issues such as domestic abuse and homelessness, exploitation and modern slavery. At the luncheon event sponsored by local businesses including CCLA, Conference Contacts, Monkey Island Estate and Reckitt, 80 female leaders in Berkshire’s corporate, civil and charitable sector heard an update on the ‘Together for Women’ fund. In 2020 it distributed almost half a million pounds in 2020 to 15 charities and community groups in Berkshire that tackle women and girls’ issues.

Gerry Lejeune OBE DL, CEO of Berkshire Community Foundation and Chair of the Berkshire Anti-Slavery Network, said, “The problems of sexual abuse, modern slavery and domestic violence are historical and ongoing in Berkshire, exacerbated by isolation and poverty. Recent high-profile cases of violence against women have raised much-needed awareness, but it is not enough.”

She continued: “Thankfully, a lot is being done behind the scenes by the Thames Valley Police, statutory agencies and voluntary groups to ensure support is in place. By bringing an interested, influential and important group of women together today, we hope to continue raising the profile of these crucial topics and, importantly, raise funds that enable us to support charities that provide women and girls a lifeline when it is most needed.” One in three women experience domestic violence in their lifetime[1], whilst on average two women are killed each week in England and Wales by a current or former partner[2]. Almost two in three (62%) children who live with domestic abuse are also directly harmed by the perpetrator[3].

To date in 2021, there have been 406 identified victims of modern slavery in the Thames Valley area[4]. Pei-Leeng Yeoh, Marketing Manager of Monkey Island Estate/ YTL Hotels, said: “We were delighted to host the Berkshire Community Foundation’s Together for Women event here at Monkey Island Estate in Bray as Together for Women is hugely important in tackling key issues and supporting disadvantaged women and girls in the Berkshire county. As a hotel in Berkshire lots of our staff and guests live locally and so we are so proud to support the local community, the Berkshire Community Foundation and all the great things that they do for vital causes in the area.”

A ‘Together for Women’ silent auction held in conjunction with the event has raised a total of £5,000 to date and is set to close on 12th November 2021. Proceeds from the auction will go directly towards the Together for Women initiative, funding groups and activities across Berkshire that provide vital support to those suffering because of modern slavery, exploitation, domestic abuse, sexual assault and social isolation. Caron Kipping, Divorce and Separation Coach and author of ‘Recognition to recovery: How to leave your abusive ex behind for good’, said: “Sadly, domestic abuse and violence can happen to anyone, whatever their background or social circle. But there is always hope and the resilience and tenacity of women cannot be underestimated. When women come together to tackle these big issues together, so much is possible. I’m excited to see what the Together for Women initiative achieves in the coming years.” Monkey Island Estate is a remarkable hotel and venue situated on a private island on the River Thames, in the historic village of Bray. With an intriguing history dating back 800 years, Monkey Island Estate has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Berkshire Community Foundation works across Berkshire to raise, then distribute, funds to charities and community groups tackling vital needs and causes in the County. In its 2020/2021 financial year it distributed £3.2 million in grants to 230 charities and groups running 450+ community projects in Berkshire – touching the lives of 1.5 million people.


About Berkshire Community Foundation Berkshire Community Foundation works across Berkshire to raise, then distribute, money directly to local causes. We operate to ensure any form of philanthropy, whether from an individual or an organisation, is effective and brings greatest benefit to those in need in our local communities. Find out more at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To get in touch, email [email protected]. About Monkey Island Estate Monkey Island Estate, with its intriguing history dating back 800 years, has been the haunt of monks, monarchs, aristocrats and writers alike. Situated on a picturesque private island on the River Thames in the historic village of Bray, Monkey Island Estate is a remarkable hotel and venue. Set across seven acres, Monkey Island Estate offers 41 bedrooms and suites as well as six Private Residences, each spacious and charming in design. Surrounded by elegant gardens, the hotel is accessed only by footbridge, boat or helicopter, offering a secluded country venue, yet is conveniently located for guests, only 10 minutes from Windsor and less than an hour’s drive from Central London. Find out more at

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