SEM recently threw a cheese day to raise money for our company charity, Choices. We had a selection of over ten different cheeses to sample from around the world, kindly donated by staff. Much tasting commenced, with some people going for the full tasting selection, and of course making donations at the same time. At the end of the tasting, we asked staff to select which was their favourite, but ended up with a three-way tie between smoked English cheddar, Spanish Manchego and the fiery Mexican Chilli Cheese, which was definitely not for the faint hearted! All the cheese was hoovered up by the end of the day with plenty to go around for everyone- so no-one was cheesed off! All in all we raised a dairy-lightful £150 for Choices, and are very proud to be able to support such an important charity with these funds.

Who are the Choices charity?

Choices was established in 1996, and exists to  provide help to all those who are experiencing domestic abuse. They run four refuges in North Kent for women and children who need somewhere secure to go to when they have had to leave their homes as a result of abuse. Choices also provide hostel accomodation for homeless young people between 16 and 25 years old.

What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is the repeated, random, habitual controlling behaviour used by one person to intimidate another, within an intimate or family type relationship. It is the misuse of power by one person in order to gain control over another. It can be: Physical, sexual, parental, emotional, psychological or financial. Does it really happen that much? Sadly, out of every four women,one will experience domestic abuse at some time in their life, and the police receive a call every minute about domestic abuse. It is also widely accepted that less than half of all domestic abuse incidents are actually reported to the police– this gives you some idea of the scale of this issue. Even more shockingly, two women are killed every week by their partner or ex-partner. SEM chose Choices as our main charity, as we wanted to support a local group  that would help people to get through difficult times and rebuild their lives. It will enable us to make a difference locally and support our community.

What can SEM do to help?

As well as raising money for Choices through our usual events, SEM will also be providing  support  to the young people housed at the hostel, to try and help them into work. We would also encourage individuals to help out  by becoming a volunteer, where you could be involved in anything from answering telephones, practical assistance with upkeep of the hostel or promoting the charity. To find out more visit the website at: http://www.choicesdaservice.org.uk/