A Yorkshire centre which helps victims of domestic violence faces the prospect of closure due to budget cuts.
Opening its doors more than 40 years ago, the Doncaster-based service has been told that the local council will not provide it with any further funding.
This is not the first time the Doncaster office has been at risk of shutting down. In 2014, the original site lost its council contract to operate a refuge for victims alongside the other services it provided. As a result, the centre had to rely on funding from the lottery, but that ended last year. Doncaster Council then made a £30,000 payment to keep it running but has said it will not do so again. This money meant the service could continue but only in a single-room office and a greatly reduced number of staff members. It also relies heavily on volunteers.
Louise Harrison is the office’s senior domestic abuse advisor. She told The Yorkshire Post that the service had been around in Doncaster “for 40 years, we have helped so many women, we are trusted”. They are “not asking for the moon” but “a bit of support” from the Council.
“Even in times of austerity, there are choices, there are ways of managing services.”
Doncaster Councillor Chris McGuinness insisted that there was no money available to offer, as they had “been forced to cut more than £200 million from its annual revenue budget” since 2010 with “further significant funding cuts [expected] in the coming years”.
Despite these forced cutbacks, Doncaster Council has still “prioritised tackling domestic violence as a key issue and spends in excess of £1 million per year on related services” he claimed.