Ashfield District Council is to receive £128k from over £660k awarded from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to Mansfield District Council and countywide partners to support victims of domestic abuse in the area.
Obtaining the additional funding to secure the future of the refuge units in Ashfield was a key action within the Council’s Housing Strategy 2016 – 20 and this successful funding bid will ensure that women escaping domestic abuse are able to access holistic support and accommodation when they need it.
The money will allow the ‘Serenity Scheme’ – including six Domestic Abuse Units within Ashfield - to be funded for another twelve months and allow an enhanced service to be provided to victims including out of hours access to the scheme. The funding will also pay for a dedicated children’s worker allowing children fleeing domestic abuse to receive professional help immediately.
Referrals to the scheme are made via Women’s Aid and include referrals from across Nottinghamshire. Women housed in the units are able to stay as long as they need and receive assistance with legal issues, help claiming benefits and support in finding permanent accommodation. They are often rehoused within Ashfield District Councils housing stock.
Val Lunn, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid Integrated Services says “We’re really delighted that Ashfield District Council has been awarded Government funding to continue providing refuge accommodation, in partnership with ourselves, for women and children leaving an abusive relationship. Since the project opened in April 2016, 22 women and 42 children have been accommodated and able to get the right support at the right time to help them get back on their feet. Two women a week are killed by their partner or former partner. I am in no doubt that this project saves lives”.
As part of the scheme, women are offered the chance to complete the Freedom Programme, an intense programme that is aimed at helping break the cycle of abuse.
Cllr Nicolle Ndiweni, portfolio holder for Community Safety & Engagement says “This funding is vital in allowing domestic abuse support in Ashfield to continue. The scheme helps a large number of women and children fleeing from abusive relationships to move on, it’s important that women know that there is support available to them when they make the decision to leave the relationship”.
If you’re experiencing abuse in your relationship or know someone who is, please call the local 24 hour freephone domestic and sexual abuse helpline on 0808 800 0340.