Victims’ charity in funding crisis

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A SERVICE which provides support to hundreds of victims of domestic abuse is in danger of losing essential services unless it gets vital funding.

Drop in and Share (Dias) charity, based in Rodney House, King Street, Wigan, is appealing for financial help to keep its services running, ahead of its resources dry up this spring.

The centre faced economic struggles last year too, but on that occasion it was saved by a £40,000 grant from Wigan Council, enabling it to keep the drop-in facility operational.

But the local authority is unable to pump any more cash into the project in the next financial year, leaving it vulnerable.

Maureen Burgess, director of services, said: “We recently had some funding, which enabled us to fund the drop-in service for a while but unfortunately that is not available for 2013/14 and our money will run out in March.

“At the moment, we don’t know what is going to happen but it would mean a massive reduction in our services - they are at risk.

“So now we are looking for charitable foundations to support us. We did want to reopen the children’s service which closed in 2010, but we just don’t have enough money.

“The work we are doing with families is essential and if we are not there to do it, there won’t be any support services for them.

“It will fall on the council to provide it and it does not have the funding.

“We can deliver services much more economically than they can and we have excellent volunteer staff.”

The service, which has been running 19 years, provides support and guidance to both male and female victims of domestic abuse.

It had been struggling financially in recent years but had previously secured grants from organisations such as Lloyds TSB and Stephensons Solicitors and the Soroptimists.

Coun Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for community safety, said: “The council values the excellent work done by a range of local third sector organisations and has in the past commissioned a number of organisations to provide services to help support the residents of the borough.

“As has been highly publicised, all local authorities have had significant funding cuts, and as a result we have had to review the services we are able offer and this has led to a number of smaller contracts for support to victims of domestic abuse not being renewed. The council remains committed to working with our partners to protect victims and families from the risk of domestic abuse.

“Our ground-breaking domestic abuse partnership continues to help victims to either leave abusive relationships, live more safely within relationships or support the prosecution and rehabilitation of offenders.

“Alongside this, front line staff across the public sector will be trained to offer advice and guidance at the point of engagement in order to fill any gaps in provision as a result of the review of services.”

Anyone able to come to Dias’s financial aid is urged to ring it on 01942 495230.