We are a small business and have limited spare funds available to support local charities but feel it is important that we do. There are an ever increasing number of people, both locally and nationally, who rely on charity as the cost of living crisis deepens which not only means more people rely on charities like foodbanks for support but there is a huge increase in social problems as a knock-on effect.

So why have we chosen to support My Sisters Place, Middlesbrough’s domestic abuse service as a corporate supporter?

It is important to state, first of all, that there is never any excuse for domestic abuse.

Our ethos is to support local charities first and foremost. Reasons include having an impact where we live and work and with people we know, a greater proportion of donated income gets spent on the service than it would in some of the large national charities, and we are fiercely proud to come from Middlesbrough and Teesside.

Despite being proud of our Smoggy heritage we also know that Middlesbrough is one of the worst areas for domestic abuse, and that pride is tempered by this shocking fact and we hope to help address that in some small way by our support of MSP.

There is an additional reason why we support a charity with a focus on supporting women (and children) – and yes, we do know that a small number of men suffer from domestic abuse, and MSP do address this, but the vast majority who are victims are women and children.

As an organisation we are committed to equality and tackling discrimination on all grounds including birth sex, gender, race, religion and sexuality. However, we work in a sector (we are essentially computer programmers) where there are very few women. In our wider sector there are lots of immensely talented women in design, photography, marketing, videography, etc and we collaborate with several locally but we have never had an application from a female for one of our “full-on-geek” roles and that is a story across the sector locally. There are a small number of immensely talented female programmers but if you look at the courses at local universities and colleges you will see a huge gender imbalance in the programming courses.

So, based on where we are right now, we specifically chose to become supporters of a fantastic local charity, providing a (sadly) much needed service primarily to women.

We know there’s a lot more to be done to redress the gender imbalance in our field and we would love to hear from female programmers or young women looking to get into programming. In the meantime, please take a look at what My Sisters Place do and maybe make a donation, do a sponsored event, or get involved in some other way and help tackle the dreadful dometic abuse in our area.

Domestic Abuse Service Middlesbrough