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Blog / Mar. 08

International Women’s Day Spotlight: Aptos Colleague Works to End Violence Against Women and Children

Shannon Matthews

Aptos’ vision of success extends beyond our company and bottom line. Being philanthropic is a big part of who we are and The Aptos Way, as an organisation and as individuals. One such individual is Joanna Kelly – Aptos’ Global Customer Satisfaction Director – who is Chair of UK charity AVA, which works to end violence against women and girls through policy, research, training and prevention work.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, which celebrates the contribution of women around the world and provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of social change to support women’s equality, our blog editors asked Jo to discuss her involvement with this impactful charity.

Why did you become involved with AVA?

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. The stats about how many women and girls are affected, both in the UK and globally, are quite scary. But the reason I became involved is because I personally know people who have been affected, people I care about, so it has had a direct impact on my life – that’s why it’s a cause close to my heart.

For a while I had been looking to volunteer in some way. Then the role as a trustee of AVA popped up and I knew it was something I wanted to commit to. I was very grateful to be selected and nearly three years later I’ve become Chair of the charity, something I’m immensely proud of.

What does AVA do?

AVA’s mission is to ‘Inspire innovation and collaboration and encourage and enable direct service providers to help end violence against women and girls.’ Direct service providers include frontline charities, like refuges, that deal directly with survivors and those experiencing abuse on a daily basis.

Our core work includes training, policy, research and consultancy and we also focus on issues that don’t get picked up by mainstream charities and agencies – like how best to support women experiencing mental ill health.

We are a small charity with a big impact. Our ground-breaking Prevention website, which provides advice on how to support children and young people to develop abuse-free relationships, has won national and international awards.

What does your role involve?

As Chair, my role is to lead the board of trustees and support the Managing Director in the efficient governance of the charity and to ensure that it works in the best interests of its mission and beneficiaries.

I feel very grateful that I have the opportunity to use the skills and experience I’ve gained in the private sector to benefit a charity which makes a big difference in peoples’ lives.

AVA Jo Kelly Bake Sale Donation
AVA’s leading ladies: [Left to right] Danielle Davis (Trustee), Donna Covey (Managing Director), Jo Kelly (Chair).

How is Aptos helping AVA?

Every year, Aptos will be selecting different charities to support, and I was delighted that this year AVA was chosen to be one of them. Over Christmas we held a bake sale and the photo above shows me giving the money raised to AVA’s Managing Director, Donna Covey. Aptos also has other fundraising activities planned the rest of the year to further contribute to the charity coffers!

Plus I have to say, Aptos leadership has always been very supportive of my involvement and I’m grateful for being able to share the great work that AVA does.

How can other people get involved?

We are a small charity doing innovative work and we don’t receive direct funding from government – we raise all our own funds every year by bidding to charitable trusts and providing training and consultancy. When people donate to us it lets us do the work that needs to be done but that funders are not always interested in funding.

As a small charity we don’t waste a penny – we have eight staff who hot desk and keep our overhead as low as we can so that as much of our money as possible goes towards our work. This means that even a small donation can make a real difference.

Ways to help:

  • Mydonate: You can make a one-off payment or a regular monthly donation. Unlike many other fundraising sites they don’t charge commission, so every penny you donate will come to us to help with our work.
  • Give as You Live: When you sign up for Give as You Live you can shop online with your favourite stores and raise a donation for us – all without costing you a penny more.
  • Giveacar: Need to get rid of an old car? You can have your car collected for free and donate to us at the same time. Call Giveacar on 020 7736 4242 and specify AVA as your charity when donating your car.

You can also help us by:

  • Donating used but still useful computers – we especially need laptops and tablets to help with our training.
  • Putting us in touch with possible volunteers – particularly those who have digital skills.
  • We would also be keen to hear from any businesses or organisations across the UK who would consider letting us use their meeting / training rooms for free. This would be a great way of supporting our work as we often have to hire venues for training and meetings.

So there are lots of ways you can get involved!

To find out more about AVA’s work you can visit their website or send me an email.

To find out more about International women’s Day 2018, visit the UN’s website.