1. ITV Report

Carlisle centre gives vulnerable women new start in life

Gateway 4 Women first opened its doors in August Photo: ITV Border

A new centre has officially opened in Carlisle which aims to give vulnerable women a new start in life.

Gateway 4 Women works to support women with a range of needs from domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.

The centre gives women access to a wide range of support groups and opportunities to help unlock their potential.

It aims to develop their skills and encourage them to live safe and healthy lives.

The idea came from one Cumbrian woman who fell into debt and spent time in prison for stealing money. We're protecting her identity:

Juliet* Credit: ITV Border

I was told upon my release from prison that everything would be fine...I would, you know, have the support, there would be the services there for when I got home and unfortunately there wasn't...

So when I did come home that was when I really, really struggled to get back into community and become a wife and a mother again and get back to normal life, for want of a better word, so it was a real struggle."

– Juliet*

Juliet* has since turned her life around and hopes the centre will support other women facing difficult circumstances.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner attended the opening:

Official opening of Gateway 4 Women Credit: ITV Border

I am so pleased to see the launch of this centre, as I believe it is so important to provide the more vulnerable in our communities with the resources and knowledge to enable them to have the skills and confidence to improve their lives.

I hear many success stories from women who have been given similar opportunities, and they have been able to turn their lives around.

I firmly believe in ‘we, not they’. In other words, if we all take some responsibility and work with and support each other, it is possible to make a difference to lives in our communities.

I believe that ‘Gateway 4 Women’ very much epitomises this vision.”

– Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner, Cumbria

Gateway 4 Women plans to open its own Beauty Salon and Cafe Bar to contribute towards its annual costs of £140,000.

The centre also hopes to set up a similiar project in the south of the county.