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  1. ITV Report

Doncaster Women's Aid launch fundraising campaign in battle against closure

A women's centre in South Yorkshire says it needs to raise £90,000 to stay open beyond the end of the month.

Doncaster Women's Aid has helped thousands of domestic abuse survivors over the past forty years, but will close at the end of the month unless extra funding can be found in time.

1500
survivors are helped by the Doncaster Women's Aid centre every year
4000
the number of calls the centre receives each year

Emma (not her real name) spoke of how the centre had helped her through a nervous breakdown after years of domestic abuse. Now in her 40s, she credits the Women's Aid charity in Doncaster with saving her life.

"I thought it was me. I thought I was going crazy. And it's only from doing work with Women's Aid that I can understand what was happening to me and stop it from ever happening again. I'm still going through that process with them. I'm out in the world on my own now and I don't know who else to turn to when Women's Aid close."

– 'Emma', domestic abuse survivor
Staff at Doncaster Women's Aid Credit: ITV News

"My fear is that women won't come forward and report to anybody that they're experiencing domestic abuse. They won't go to the statutory authorities because of the lack of trust. But they will come to us and talk to us because they see us as independent"

– Jane Thompson-Brierley, Doncaster Women's Aid

The centre lost out on a local authority contract in 2013. Since then it has been relying on Lottery Funding, but that has now run out.

Doncaster Council says that funding for domestic abuse services in the town has more than doubled since 2010/11 from £458,930 more than a £1 million.

"Doncaster Council commissions a wide range of help and support for victims of domestic abuse and rape across the borough and we have to deliver the most effective value-for-money services for residents.

Women’s Aid is not our provider but we recognise the value of its work and are currently helping them to seek alternative funding.

We are supportive of the third sector and have launched a grant scheme but the council funds services, not organisations.”

– Doncaster Council spokesman

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