A Blackburn activist who founded a women-led grassroots organisation has launched a four-week project to help male and female victims of domestic violence.

Saima Afzal founded SAS RIGHTS to support women from marginalised groups who are experiencing addiction, abuse, or coercive control.

‘Together Through Tough Times’ is the four-week fundraiser that has been launched which aims to improve the work the work SAS RIGHTS carry out in the community by investing more money in workshops.

Determined to help vulnerable women cope amid a cost-of-living crisis, Saima organises workshops to help women learn about finance and budgeting, how to manage debts, reduce energy usage, and access benefit entitlements.

Saima said: “We talk through a range of topics including money, finances, managing and getting through a cost of living crisis.”

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council provided the organisation with a small pot of money - £1,000 for each set of ten sessions.

Saima continued: “But we now need to continue and need to fundraise. The sessions were for those struggling with English or lacked confidence in conversing in English.”

Donations of £1 to £250 will be matched but there is only a four week window on this so will end on April 20. Only one donation per person is allowed.

Saima said: “This will help maximise the work we can deliver both locally and also the wellbeing work we do. If someone can donate £250 for example, that will become £500.

“The project funds will be used to run weekly workshops led by women from some of the most excluded and minoritised groups.

"It isn't just marginalised women who we help though. We support men and and women from all different backgrounds because we're an inclusive group.

“Problems we see include those experiencing addiction, abuse, cultural, and other forms of coercive control, including forced marriage and honour-based crimes.

“Our focus will be on people that are excluded from their communities and have vulnerabilities often not recognised by processes such as benefit claims and other processes.

“We will develop individual bespoke support and group initiatives.- to create sustainable solutions and support networks. We will create a sense of belonging and encourage personal ownership of the situations.

“Initially, our service users will be invested in projects to help themselves, but in the long term, they will offer support to others by sharing lived experiences and empowering some of society's most vulnerable and excluded individuals and families to develop financial resilience and independence.”

To donate to the Together Through Tough Times fundraiser, visit here.