The Duchess of Cornwall visited Panahghar as part of a number of visits to organisations across Coventry to pay tribute to the work of individuals and organisations across the city.
Panahghar was the final visit of the day and saw Her Royal Highness visit the refuge to commend the support Panahghar offered to Black, Minoritised Ethnic Women affected by domestic violence and abuse over the pandemic. During the visit, The Duchess met with the service users and support staff at Panahghar to hear about their experiences and the impact of the pandemic.
Over the last year, Panahghar saw a record number of calls to their helpline and a rise in service users needing
support in the community, as well as refuge accommodation during the pandemic. Panahghar’s refuge and support services were accessed 24/7 365 days of the year. During 2020 Panahghar supported over 87 women and 74 children in refuge alone.
Sandra Manak, the Interim CEO of Panahghar, explained, “The last year has been difficult for everyone and especially for BME women’s refuges across the country. We have had to adapt our support services around Covid restrictions and keep the safety of our service users and support staff a key priority. I am very proud to lead such a dedicated team.”
On the special visit, Mrs Manak shared, “It has been wonderful to welcome Her Royal Highness to Panahghar and be recognised for the hard work and commitment that we offer to our community and service users on a daily basis. This has been a very good opportunity for us to highlight the issues that BME women experience as well as the importance of retaining specialist BME services such as ours. We hope to continue to grow and enhance our services.”
In meeting with The Duchess, one of the service users said, ‘they were happy to meet Her Royal Highness and talk about their journey’. The Duchess of Cornwall praised the service users in sharing with her their experiences, as well as commending Panahghar’s staff team for their hard work, especially during the pandemic and understood the challenges faced by service users and staff.