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Funding makes positive difference to project tackling domestic abuse

Barrow based charity tackling domestic abuse, Women’s Community Matters, received funding of £12,000 from Cumbria Housing Partners Community Fund. Thanks to the grant the charity has been able to employ a qualified social worker to the #ibelieveyou project helping to improve access to domestic abuse support services from across Cumbria.

WCM Team 1Rebecca Rawlings, Senior Officer – Women’s Community Matters said: “We are very grateful to Cumbria Housing Partners for awarding us this grant. It has made a huge difference to the support we are able to offer victims and survivors of domestic abuse. In the first three months the #ibelieveyou project has supported 54 different women and their children.

#ibelieveyou project sends positive message

The Crime and Community Safety Strategic Assessment for Cumbria describes Barrow as having the highest rate of reported domestic abuse incidents in the county. Women often report that experience has taught them others will not believe their stories, this prevents them from seeking help. Women seeking support are positive about the name of the project #ibelieveyou and the powerful message it sends.

WCM Team v1

Women’s Community Matters is run by women, for women offers one-to-one support, courses, activities, support groups and access to specialist services for vulnerable women and girls aged 14 and over. Based at the Nan Tait Centre on Abbey Road in Barrow, their services are available to women from all over Cumbria. They deliver services with love, care, compassion and kindness and offer a safe space in which women can make their own decisions about changes they want to make in their own lives.

By working together we can support those who need us

Janice Sharp, Assistant Director of Housing, Barrow Borough Council said: “Women’s Community Matters has built a close working relationship with Barrow Borough Council Housing Team. Sadly the number of women seeking support for domestic abuse continues to increase every year. #ibelieveyou aims to raise awareness about help which is available as well as offer support. This funding means the project can reach and support vulnerable women living in, or in need of social housing. By working together we can support those who need us and the community as a whole.”

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners said: “The community fund was created to support projects which provide advice and guidance to people in their local community, creating brighter futures. It is encouraging to hear the grant awarded to Women’s Community Matters is already having a positive effect. We are proud to have played a small part in supporting this project which aims to empower those who have suffered from abuse; helping to change lives in our communities for the better.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: Barrow-in-Furness is amongst the most disadvantaged towns in the country. Research tells us that girls and women living in poorer circumstances are more likely to have suffered violence; domestic abuse; and neglect as children than women growing up with more affluent means. This link puts women and girls in Barrow at an increased risk of domestic and sexual violence and exploitation, as well as other forms of disadvantage. This project is helping to change the futures of those who have experienced and abuse.

Women benefiting from the #ibelieveyou project are looking to host regular Vintage Afternoon Teas in 2019 to help finance the project in the longer term. Anyone interested in being involved with these fundraising efforts, or looking for support, can contact the Centre on 01229 311102 or reception@womenscommunitymatters.org.