Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Women's Refuge Horrified over Fake Donations Page

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Women's Refuge Horrified over Fake Donations Page

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk

SUSPECTED fraudsters have gathered donations from generous folk by claiming they were raising money for a Tyneside women's refuge.

More than 1,000 people pledged support for a Facebook page inviting people to hand over unwanted clothes, furniture and household goods.

The online group promised to donate items received to Newcastle's Women's Aid, a registered charity that helps victims of domestic violence on Tyneside.

And it said anything that was not needed or wanted by the refuge would be sold on to raise money for the cause.

But the Facebook group was set up without the knowledge of Newcastle's Women's Aid, and appears to have been operating and receiving donations for months without contacting the charity, or passing over any items or cash. Police have now launched an investigation after the refuge's service director Elaine Langshaw became aware of the Facebook page, which was using the charity's name, logo and charity number.

Today, she has told The Chronicle of her anger that someone may have used Newcastle Women's Aid's good name for their own financial gain.

She said: "This is just taking advantage of abused women. We are all so upset our charity has been violated in this way.

"These people believed they were giving items and money to Newcastle Women's Aid. It is just so disappointing. We are so upset by it."

Elaine first became aware of the Facebook page earlier this month.

Apparently set up by a woman in Northumberland, the profile said: "Every penny we make in this group will go to Newcastle's Women's Aid. Every item is appreciated no matter how big or small. Enjoy the group, it's all for a amazing cause."

The online page explained that a number of 'admins' had been recruited in areas across Newcastle to collect goods from people's homes.

"We had no knowledge of it at all," said Elaine. "But people were donating items all over the North East. They were using our charity number and it was really pulling on the heartstrings. But we had not received one penny."

Posts were also put on the Facebook page about visits members had made to the refuge delivering items to the "grateful families". …

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