The JustGiving page started by a fan of The Archers has now raised over £100,000 for domestic violence charity Refuge in response to the ongoing Helen Titchener abuse storyline.
The ‘Helen Titchener (nee Archer) Rescue Fund’ page was started by Paul Trueman, a fan of the long running BBC Radio 4 soap, in February. In three days it raised over £20,000 from 1,505 donations for Refuge.
However, after Sunday’s episode - in which Helen stabbed her abusive husband Rob - donations to Trueman’s JustGiving page have spiked and the amount raised has now reached £104,561 from 6,166 individual donations.
In a statement released yesterday, Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said: “To have raised £100,000 for Refuge is a tremendous achievement, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the Helen Titchener Fund.
"The generosity of The Archers’ listeners will allow Refuge to support real-life Helens and Henrys escaping domestic violence up and down the country”.
Horley also praised the soap for bringing the issue of domestic violence into the public sphere. “Talking about domestic violence is still taboo, and The Archers’ storyline has given Refuge a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness, reaching women who may be experiencing the same kind of abuse as Helen Titchener”.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid has also praised the storyline and said that “from February last year to February this year we saw a 20 per cent increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which we think is in part down to the ‘Archers’ effect”.
On his page, Trueman thanked all those who had donated: “We were £80,000 last week and now… this. Jackpot. I’ve spent the last two months muttering ‘people are amazing’. Today you proved it again.
“PS. Please keep the donations coming – the page isn’t going anywhere”.
The show’s hashtag, #TheArchers has been used more than 100,000 times since the episode went to air on Sunday. #TheArchers had over 40,000 mentions in April alone, eight times more than television soaps like East Enders.