Waltham Abbey Fire Station staff have raised more than £600 to fund vital starter kits for households affected by domestic abuse.

During the past year, more than 100 families who cited domestic abuse as the cause of their homelessness sought help from Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

Given the urgent nature of their situation, many found themselves displaced into temporary accommodation with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

The starter kits were designed to address the immediate need for everyday items in those urgent situations.

The kits include simple necessities like bedding, a kettle, a toaster, cups, and towels.

The idea came from an EFDC Domestic Abuse Support Specialist and has been adopted by the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership.

An EFDC spokesperson said: "The starter boxes help ease, what is a very traumatic, unsettling, and overwhelming time when there are so many things to think about before someone can even start to rebuild their life.

"The kits provide vital household equipment and comforts that survivors can call their own and take with them into longer-term accommodation.

"With the help of the Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership, we aim to continue providing as many starter boxes as possible for those in need, as well as signposting to a range of services that will help to make a fresh start.

"I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the staff at Waltham Abbey Fire Station and to those who donated."

The staff at the fire station in Essex County created a charity car wash event at the end of March to raise money for these starter kits.

With robust support from residents, they managed to collect a total of £620 in one day, enough to fund seven single-person starter kits.

A grateful starter kit recipient said: "Wow - the starter kit was such a helpful and useful gift.

"Having nothing and starting again is overwhelming, where do you begin?

"It was lovely to open the box and have things to hand to help you on the next part of your journey.

"The content made a difference, and it was one less thing that I had to think about with everything else that’s going on.

"A well-thought-out gift: thank you so much."

The Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership comprises various organisations including Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, Essex Police, Essex Probation, Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board.