Charity manager returns OBE and slams Big Society

By staff writers
February 25, 2011

The head of a London charity has returned her OBE in protest at massive cuts to the services she runs for victims of domestic violence. Denise Marshall, chief executive of Eaves, attacked the government's cuts agenda and David Cameron's concept of the "Big Society".

Eaves, based in Brixton in south London, offers counselling, shelter and support to people who have experienced domestic violence and other forms of abuse.

Funding cuts were already affecting Eaves' services, when the charity heard that they would lose 75 per cent of the funding for their Poppy Project which supports women who have been trafficked for sex.

Marshall , who was awarded an OBE for her charity work in 2007, said that vulnerable women would be at greater risk as a result of the cuts. She now plans to return her OBE in protest.

She told the South London Press that the situation is "very depressing" because of the cuts.

"We go on and on trying to make things work and my staff have been brilliant but the money keeps getting less," Marshall explained.

She added, "I've never had as many sleepless nights as I'm having now. My work used to be a vocation. I came in thinking that I could make a difference to people's lives. Now I dread coming in the morning. I know there's not enough money and I feel responsible."

Marshall also attacked David Cameron's concept of the "Big Society", which is based in part on encouraging volunteerism.

"You can't use volunteers," said Marshall, "These are women who have been through traumatic crimes. They have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. They need professional, paid help."

She insisted, "We are facing massive cuts and its being disguised as a philosophical agenda. That's why I am taking back the OBE."


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