Appeal to help women

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Four speakers with first-hand experience of issues such as domestic violence, self harm and forced marriage spoke at the recent launch of Opportunities for Women Now.

They included Jenny Pearce OBE of the University of Bedfordshire who earlier this year won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for her pioneering research into child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking.

The fundraising appeal was organised by Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation who have set themselves a target of £75,000 to address issues faced by women and young girls in the area.

Its chief executive Mark West said: “The statistics covering these issues make poor reading and are probably under-reported as well.

“Local community groups are already working to protect and support victims of violence and inequality and the Foundation believes that it must help these groups to deal with these issues.

“Matched funding is our way of making sure everyone’s donation to the cause makes a real difference to the community.”

Two donors have already pledged £25,000 each if the Foundation can raise the same sum.

> Donations should be sent to the Foundation’s offices at The Old School, Southill Road, Cardington MK44 3SX or online at