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Making a difference brick by brick

On Friday I was getting ready to sign off after a long but productive day at work.

A press release had gone out in the morning to announce The Haven’s “Brick campaign to help fund Wolverhampton domestic abuse flats.”

A request comes through from the BBC in response: “Is someone available to speak to us live on BBC Radio WM for the breakfast show early Monday morning?”

How early?

“7:30”

School run. Too early. No way I’ll make it to the office or a studio for that time. Who else is available? A myriad of thoughts flashed through my head simultaneously. Then the follow up:

“We’ll come to you.”

So this morning, I got up early to get ready, prepare my daughter for school, and wait on the reporter. In my mind, it was just another casual morning. The only difference is I’ll be live on the radio so I made sure I was presentable and wrapped my hair in a headscarf – I skipped wash day this weekend so my hair was a mess. The plan was to set off immediately after the interview.

The reporter shows up and not wanting to intrude she offers to conduct the interview on the side of the road. It was a dull and dark morning. She seemed surprised that I was happy to let her into my home. She comes in and while setting up her equipment, she comments on how chirpy and presentable I look for that time of the morning. I laughed. I had no idea what was to come. She outlined the questions she had prepared.

I spent a good part of Friday trying to figure out how to create a virtual brick wall on our website for this campaign; manually prepping the bricks in readiness for names of donors to be added on. So I was excited to talk about the eight new flats that we are constructing for women and children escaping domestic abuse, and our fundraising campaign encouraging people to buy virtual bricks towards this new development. I spoke about the need for this project and the urgency of this fundraising initiative, our 50th year anniversary, and how the symbolic virtual wall that I had been working on will be at the heart of our community’s efforts.

As we went live, it dawned on me that my living room was now a makeshift studio and I prayed that my daughter would heed the warning that I had given her to be quiet upstairs. I spoke about how each virtual brick is a game-changer for creating safe spaces for vulnerable women and children. The reporter was well informed which made for good banter. We concluded and then she asked for permission to take my picture.

WHAT?!

I looked at the reflection of me in my headscarf in the mirror. Why do you need my picture for a radio interview? Little did I know, that what I thought was a faceless radio interview would end up being a feature on the BBC News website, shining a light on The Haven Wolverhampton’s important work. Forget the headscarf, of course, I had to take one for the team!

Reflecting on the interview, I can only chuckle at the fact that a photograph I would have never published of myself is now a frozen moment in time on the BBC News website! If I had known about the photograph beforehand, I might have aimed for a touch of glam! In any case, I hope that it reflects the raw emotions and commitment I feel towards The Haven’s cause.

By the time we wrapped up the interview, the sun was beaming, and it was time to head off on the school run. My hope is that brick by brick, hope will be restored for many more survivors of domestic abuse. If you would like to add your name to The Haven’s virtual brick wall visit here.

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