Walk to raise funds for domestic abuse charity

Drainage Wind Pump at Hardley

Hardley Mill - Credit: citizenside.com

A Norfolk councillor has organised a sponsored walk to raise funds for victims of domestic abuse, a local support group, and a Victorian mill. 

The event has been organised by Jeremy Rowe, 56, of Loddon, to raise much-needed funds for ChetChat, a volunteer-run support group for the over 60s in need of help and support. 

Jeremy Rowe

Jeremy Rowe has been raising much-needed funds for ChetChat. - Credit: SUPPLIED

The fundraiser will also raise money for Leeway’s domestic violence and abuse services and restored Victorian windmill Hardley Mill, situated on the banks of the River Yare. 

Mr Rowe, South Norfolk councillor for Loddon and Chedgrave, explained why the support was vital. 

He said: “We decided to put on this walk to help raise the profile of these groups and to remind people they are there if people need support. 

“These groups are critical and make a decisive difference to the lives of people who use these services. 

“I am proud to be able to be part of the great work going on. As a local councillor I see this kind of support as part of my job to help build up these groups. South Norfolk District Council have also been supportive of our efforts. 

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“We also do Christmas hampers every year too, around 50 to 60 in total, and any money raised will be able to help towards that too.”

Hardley Mill

Hardley Mill - Credit: Peter Jarvis

The walk will take place on Sunday, September 5, from All Saints Church in Chedgrave at 1pm, and will follow a route to St Margaret’s Church in Hardley, Hardley Staithe car park, and conclude at Hardley Mill. 

Hardley Mill is maintained as an active mill that has been fully restored and is able to pump water on the Norfolk Broads. Its turning sails attract visitors from far and wide.

At the mill there will be entertainment from Funky Feet and the Saxonettes, as well as refreshments. 

Currently, the aim is to raise funds for its restoration to full working order and to conserve and maintain it for the public benefit, as well as develop the grade II listed heritage building as an educational facility and visitor centre.

Anyone can raise sponsorship and join in with the walk, which is just under three miles, and can meet at the starting point or at any of the stop off points en route.  

The event is being sponsored by estate agents and financial services company Musker Mcintyre, and Loddon-based Rosy Lee’s Tea Room and online dolls house store, Minimum World. 

Mr Rowe added: “I hope people come out to show their support on the walk, as well as take part. It would be great to see as many people as possible. 

“We will keep doing as much as we can, and a lot of praise must also go to our volunteers. We hope also that by spreading the awareness, that we can also attract more volunteers too.” 

Volunteers at the launch of ChetChat. Credit: Submitted

Volunteers at the launch of ChetChat - Credit: SUBMITTED

Mr Rowe, alongside a team of volunteers, set up ChetChat during the coronavirus pandemic.

The community group helps to tackle loneliness among the most vulnerable and has become a permanent feature in the area. 

Based in Loddon, it was set up after the end of the first lockdown to help tackle loneliness in the town and beyond. 

At its peak it was fielding up to 40 requests a day in Loddon alone, mainly for shopping and prescription errands, and volunteers responded to every request via an Uber-style WhatsApp group. 

Originally called The Hub, ChetChat was formed after lockdown and has been a hit ever since, which is why leading volunteers looked towards making it a permanent feature in the town. 

Now the group is hoping for more volunteers to get on board following. 

  • Anyone wanting any help from the ChetChat team, or anyone seeking support for an elderly relative can phone 07876050110. 

  • For more information or to get involved ring Jeremy Rowe on 07733 323581 or email atj.rowe@waveneyvalleyat.co.uk. To donate visit the website www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jeremy-Rowe-2 and follow the instructions on Just Giving. 

  • For free confidential advice from Leeway, ring the domestic abuse helpline on 0300 561 0077 or email adviceandsupport@leewaynwa.org.uk