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Affordable Justice - legal services

Affordable Justice Limited has now been up and running for nearly a year and has had enquiries from all over the country. It is a new law firm aimed at providing high quality specialist legal advice and representation to women who have been refused Legal Aid or women who can't afford commercial rates for legal advice. Help us reach more women by liking us on Facebook and inviting your friends to like us too.

Check out the website at www.affordablejustice.co.uk for more details.

Funding boost for more properties

We have beenbeen given £100 000 to help us buy four 3-bed houses to function as safe houses for local women and families fleeing domestic violence.   

We already manage more than 90 properties for a number of public and private landlords, all of which house women and children recovering from the trauma of domestic violence and abuse.  Adding four more properties will give four more families the chance to rebuild their lives.

In recent years we’ve developed our Safe As Houses initiative, supporting and encouraging landlords and potential landlords to find properties that will act as safe houses for women and children in need.  The landlords get a buy to let property that generates an income year on year, the families get safe, affordable accommodation and the Preston Road Centre receives income from managing the property.  It’s an ethical investment, and a way of sustaining our future: it helps us not only to house women in crisis safely, but to generate income which supports our other services for women and girls.  However we can always do more, and the funding from the DCLG is extremely welcome.”

One of the Preston Road Centre’s  residents describes how it changed her life; “The Centre helped me to get a house, the house they put me in was the best I could wish for - and the children are doing really well at their school. My life was so bad; if it wasn’t for the Centre I wouldn’t be here now, and I don’t know where my kids would be.  They supported me with a new life – I’m now in the best place in my life and the kids are the happiest they’ve ever been.”

The DCLG announced the Preston Road Women’s Centre award as part of an overall £3.5m investment in increasing the number of safe beds across the country.   You can read more about the other funding awards on the Gov.Uk website at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/35-million-awarded-to-make-sure-domestic-abuse-victims-get-help

Communities Minister Baroness Williams said:  “Domestic abuse is an appalling crime that shatters lives and this Government is determined to ensure that no victim is turned away from the support they need. This new funding will help Hull City Council and Preston Road Women’s Centre provide a strong safety net for anyone facing the threat of abuse in their own home.

“In the Spending Round we have also secured an additional £40m over the next four years – to make sure that victims can access support wherever they are from, anywhere in the country. We’ll set out how this money will be used for victims and areas that most need it with the publishing of the new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.”

The DCLG bids were coordinated through local councils, and the Preston Road Women’s Centre bid for funding was put together with support from Tracy Harsley of Hull City Council.  Tracy is the City Manager, (Citysafe and Early Intervention), Children Young People and Family Services. 

International Fashion Show

Our volunteers are looking good for a good cause!

On Saturday October 3rd 2015, our volunteers took part in a great international fashion show at the City Hall in Hull, celebrating cultural diversity and enjoying a good time.

Looking like the 60s version of the spice girls and demonstrating that clothes can break down cultural barriers, the women's centre was well represented and flew the flag for women everywhere

Fashion show

Lloyds Bank Foundation support our work

Lloyds Bank Foundation funding will help our services for women and children in violent situations

Celebrations are in order this week after we learned that we are being awarded a £75,000 grant by Lloyds Bank Foundation to fund vital support for women in the city.

The £75,000 grant from the Foundation will help fund a specialist domestic violence support and housing worker for three years, giving the Centre much-needed capacity.

“It’s a sad fact that in Hull an estimated 25,000 women and 19,000 children will experience domestic violence each year,” explains Centre Coordinator Ann Clarkson.  “Taking the decision to leave a violent partner is fraught with difficulties, including the threat of escalating and more frequent violence.  The difference we help women and children to achieve in their lives is to move from dangerous, damaging situations to safe, independent living which gives them a foundation to achieve their full potential.

“Having the money to recruit another woman to support this vital and empowering work is fantastic news and we are extremely grateful to Lloyds Bank Foundation for recognising the value of what we do. It means we can hopefully clear our waiting list and give these women and children a brighter future.

“Our service is open to any woman to refer herself into and we also accept referrals from a wide range of agencies including the Police and social services. Once referred, we talk to the woman about her needs and make a plan based on short, medium and long term outcomes.  Planning will typically include how to leave the relationship safely, provision of safe housing and access to benefits and grants, accessing legal representation as necessary, settling families into new homes and schools, helping them to live independently and, longer term, encouraging women to attend accredited training courses to realise their potential.”

Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation said, “We are delighted to be able to support Preston Road Women’s Centre in their work not only to remove women from the immediate risk of domestic abuse but also to work with the community to prevent it from happening in the first place.  The Foundation is committed to supporting charities working in the domestic abuse sector, having distributed £2.1m to 50 charities in the last two years alone. We know the sector is under huge strain despite increasing demand due to reduced government funding so needs all the help it can get.” 

Celebrating a great year

Celebrating the work of volunteers in an incredible year

We have been celebratingour volunteers and our successes at a special thank you event for our annual general meeting last week.

Ann Clarkson, our Centre Co-ordinator said "None of our services are possible without our amazing volunteers. “Many of them have been through difficult times themselves, so they have a real empathy with the people using the centre.  They keep the show on the road and work so hard to help others who are often scared, and are at their lowest ebb emotionally and physically. We always use the AGM to say thank you to them and publicly recognise them for the stars that they are”.

The Centre also presented a commemorative vase to Councillor Mary Glew in recognition for her support as one of her official charities during her office as Mayor.    Cllr Glew was delighted; “This is a very special charity - I have supported their work for many years as I believe in the enormous difference they make to the lives of local women.  The volunteers are incredible, selfless women and I applaud every one of them.” 

As part of the celebrations, Treasurer Lisa Hilder shared some of the Centre’s highlights of the past year, which included a £300,000 award for their volunteering project, and a £120,000 grant from BBC Children In Need to fund a three-year project aimed at helping girls and young women who are experiencing domestic violence. 

Winner Volunteers and the Lord Mayor

 

Humber Business Week event – 3 June

The next venture for the Centre is an event as part of Humber Business Week, to showcase their ethical property investment model.  Lisa explains: “In recent years we’ve developed our own investment arm, supporting and encouraging landlords and potential landlords to find properties that will act as safe houses for women and children in need.  The landlords get a buy to let property that generates an income year on year, the families get safe, affordable accommodation and the Preston Road Centre receives income from managing the property.  We now have 90 properties, which is fantastic.  It’s an ethical investment which generates a good return, and helps us not only to house women in crisis safely, but to generate income which supports the rest of our services for women and girls.”

The free event is taking place from 2 – 4pm on 3 June at the Guildhall, Hull.  To book, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can find out more about the work of the Preston Road Women’s Centre at www.purplehouse.co.uk

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