A cash-strapped women’s refuge in Southampton has been awarded a one-year, £79,900 grant to fund a desperately-needed regional recovery and rehabilitation scheme to help vulnerable women with complex support needs regain and rebuild their lives.
South Hampshire Women’s Refuge has secured the funding from national grant-giving charity Longleigh Foundation for its new RENEW (Rehabilitate, Empower, Nurture and Energise Women) programme - a specialist recovery scheme for women fleeing abusive relationships who also struggle with problems such as drink/drug dependency and mental health issues. One in four referrals to refuges in England are currently declined due to a lack of space and a further 10 per cent are turned down because the refuges are not equipped to support women with complex needs.
The Longleigh grant will fund RENEW for the next 12 months and will provide over 30 families living at the refuge with a structured programme of one-to-one support to help them successfully transition from the refuge to independent living in the community. Subject to the programme’s success this year, there is an option for Longleigh to grant-fund the RENEW scheme for a further two years up to a total value of £244,526.
Hit by government cuts
Like many refuges across the country, South Hampshire Women’s Refuge which is operated by social housing provider Stonewater, has been badly hit by government funding cuts, putting its unique specialist recovery services under threat. The 10-bed refuge is one of only a handful in the South of England with specially trained staff providing dedicated professional support to vulnerable women and their children.
“Without funding our service could only offer temporary accommodation with minimal support from limited local services,” says Louise Cox, Supported Housing Manager for Stonewater.
“We are extremely grateful to Longleigh Foundation for this significant funding that will now enable South Hampshire Women’s Refuge to really develop the RENEW project which is so urgently needed in the area. This money will also enable us to train and develop more frontline housing staff in other parts of Stonewater on how to identify and help victims of domestic abuse.”
The Longleigh Foundation grant will also finance several smaller programmes under the RENEW scheme. These include the Sue Penna ‘Recovery Toolkit’ – a 12-week intensive programme funded by Longleigh last year, which supports and empowers women in crisis to leave their situations and live independently – and The Freedom Programme, which helps women identify abusive relationships.
Cristina Andreatta, Director of Longleigh Foundation says: “We are delighted to be able to support the South Hampshire Women’s Refuge which provides a truly invaluable service for vulnerable women and their children. More than just a safe place to stay, the refuge not only takes care of their immediate needs, but also provides women with important long-term coping strategies and support, helping them to take control of their lives and develop safer and healthier relationships.”