Preston charities in line for funding to combat abuse
Lancashire has been handed a further £408,000 from the Government to support services which tackle domestic violence and sexual abuse in the county.
This means that since his election in May, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden has obtained over £2.5 million to fight these social problems.
Nine organisations across Lancashire will benefit from the new wave of funding, including The Foxton Centre and Sahara in Preston.
The Foxton Centre operate from a site just off Knowsley Street in Avenham. They predominantly provide practical and emotional support to homeless people and women involved in sex work, but also support children, young people, and families in the Avenham area.
Meanwhile, Sahara in Preston are based in Fishwick Parade and work mainly for the black and minority ethnic community, offering people assistance across a range of issues including domestic abuse, unemployment, immigration, and learning life skills.
The other organisations in and around Lancashire receiving a slice of the new funding are Fylde Coast Women’s Aid (Blackpool), Empowerment (Blackpool), the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Foundation (Blackpool), Positive Action in the Community (Nelson), The Wish Centre (Blackburn), The Birchall Trust (Barrow-in-Furness), and the Flowhesion Foundation (Bolton).
Abuse is a serious reality for many victims across Lancashire. In the five years leading up to March 2020, Lancashire Constabulary recorded 62,802 violent domestic abuse crimes.
Moreover, a recent report by Lancashire County Council stated that 3,934 sexual offences had been recorded in the year ending March 2021. At 2.6 cases per 1,000, this is marginally higher than the average case rate across England and Wales, but is an improvement on 2019/20.
The Foxton Centre shared their gratitude for the funding with the Lancashire Post. “We are delighted to receive £90,000 from the Police Crime Commissioner’s office to support our work with extremely vulnerable women.
“This will allow us to continue our good work with women who, through a variety of circumstances, have found themselves often homeless or involved in sex work. These people need a safe space and are often repeatedly affected by trauma in their lives.
“Through our outreach, our drop-in, and our accommodation, we can provide skilled professionals who are non-judgemental and offer immediate services where and when women want them, often at difficult times of the day and night.
“We have seen an increase with women in crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this money will allow us to sustain and expand some of our outreach services and the ability to deal with women’s trauma.
“We have also recently established an advisory group of leading women from across the city. This will allow the daily experiences of our women to be heard at a strategic level.
“Covid-19 has affected all of us in different ways and at The Foxton Centre we have maintained our activity throughout the pandemic to help those at their most vulnerable in Preston.”
Following the announcement about the funding, Commissioner Snowden said: “It’s extremely important that victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence receive the dedicated, expert support they need to help them move forward and break the cycle of abuse that destroys lives.
“As Commissioner I am committed to getting tough on crime, including abuse in all its forms, and will work with the Constabulary to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and we keep people safe.
“By combining this vital support for victims with early intervention and also, crucially, a clear message that if you’re committing abuse, officers will be knocking on your door, we can make a real difference and prevent people from becoming victims to these terrible crimes.”