Calls and messages to Domestic Violence support services are growing rapidly now that Lockdown is being loosened, and women are finding the space to call safely. Manchester Women’s Aid have seen increases in enquiries about refuge spaces since April compared with figures from last year. May has seen a huge 70% increase in enquiries compared to last year.

In May 2020, as part of the We Love MCR Charity Covid-19 Community Response Fund, We Love MCR Charity (WLMC) approved a package of grants totalling £61,650 to local charities dealing with Domestic Violence & Vulnerable Children.

One of these grants was to Manchester Women’s Aid (MWA). This vital grant was to enable them to move 8 families from their refuge places and into their own new, safe accommodation, so that they can start their new lives. This would create 8 urgently needed new refuge spaces that women and families can flee to, away from the violence faced at home.

Now four weeks since the £8000 grant was awarded, Gail Heath from MWA has an uplifting update on the work done so far, which goes far above and beyond what was first expected:

“Things are going really well, we are actually exceeding expectations – we are helping more than 8 people to move on. 10 families have moved out and 10 families have moved into refuge spaces already, so more families are now safe from DV. We are likely to be able to support another 7 families who are ready to move out in the next few weeks, and therefore 7 more families will move into Refuge, making them safer.

“The We Love MCR grant gave us the assurance and certainty we needed to help clients. It has enabled us to provide more than just the basics, helping us to provide families with the best start possible for their new lives.One family said: ‘You’ve done us proud’

One family said on moving into their new home: ‘It is such relief, we can breathe again’
One of the families we have moved has been in Refuge for 6 weeks, another for 18 months, so the money is really helping people move forward with their lives.”

WLMC’s Grants Officer, Marie O’Neill-Steinegger, also works part-time as an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor: 

Refuge spaces are vital to enable women and children to flee quickly to somewhere safe when they need it most.  The funding from WLMC is not only supporting families to move into refuge in their time of need, but also helps others move out to start their new lives, free from abuse.  Working on the frontline with high risk victims of domestic violence, I can see the difference this funding is making – it really is saving lives”


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