How we helped a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse build an online community of trust

During the pandemic lockdowns of 2020, Ardcairn worked with Welsh charity, Cyfannol, to move support for their service users online. Cyfannol provides services for victims of domestic abuse and it was important to them that vital support continued during the lockdowns, when meeting in person was difficult or impossible.

Cyfannol wanted to explore how an online service might work and how they could continue to engage with service users in a safe and empowering way. Having received grant money to move services online via Dot Project, Dot Project asked us, LDR21 and We Are Open to work with the charity to explore the use of community calls for building a community of trust online, to engage with their users and gather ideas from them about the future service provision.

What we did

We ran a series of 4 community calls following a model we have used for other organisations. The model enables organisations to:

  1. Become acquainted with the concept of community calls
  2. Get to know the kind of tech that would work best for their needs and how to build in security and privacy
  3. Learn about the logistics of running a successful call for engagement, active participation, and meaningful outputs


The community calls were very successful, with the charity delighted at this new avenue open to them for engaging with service users. The impact of the community calls has been to:

  • Help participants feel valued because they knew their voice was being heard, that their voice mattered and their ideas and feedback would be used to create better services
  • Provide a record of thoughts and ideas for the charity that can be analysed and used for different contexts, eg for reports, presentations, and as evidence for future funding

Evidence of results:

  • For this group, it was enough that people would turn up. It showed that they were willing to take the step into an unknown environment. Feeling safe enough to do this was a major step
  • We used low-barrier tech to enable service users to choose how they participated, via video, audio or via text
  • By the final call one of the participants who had not actively participated throughout, felt comfortable and confident enough to contribute her thoughts


“The community calls are the highlight of my week”

Cyfannol service user