Longleigh Foundation awards £35k to fund vital recovery programme for Southampton women’s refuge

A Southampton women’s refuge has secured funding to pay for a vital recovery programme aimed at helping victims of domestic abuse regain their lives.

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Longleigh Foundation, a new grant-giving independent national charity launched this year, has awarded South Hampshire Women’s Refuge £35,000 to fund an innovative six-month ‘Recovery Toolkit’ scheme designed to equip women in crisis with the life skills they need to leave their situations and live independently. The refuge is operated by social housing provider, Stonewater.

The six-month programme will fund 15 women at a cost of around £2,300 per candidate, enabling each to gain a Level 1 Certificate in Developing Personal Confidence and Self Awareness. Longleigh Foundation’s funding will also help South Hampshire Women's Refuge remodel its support facilities to accommodate more women with complex needs, an investment which is vital to the refuge’s long-term sustainability.

Two women are killed every week in England and Wales by abusive partners. And while domestic abuse-related crimes have risen by 61% since 2013, safe-havens like South Hampshire - which are funded by local authorities and the rent paid by their residents from housing benefit - are struggling to survive. Since 2010, 17% of all refuges in England have closed due to funding cuts.

“South Hampshire Women’s Refuge is one of many shelters around the country which has had to reduce its services due to funding cuts and urgently needs money to deliver key programmes and support services which women in crisis so desperately need,” says Sue Terry, Chair of Longleigh Foundation. "We are delighted to be able to help fund this much-needed Recovery Toolkit and support the shelter’s life-saving work in the community which is making a real difference to women’s lives every day.”

She adds: “We are now looking to form strategic partnerships with other funding organisations and businesses in Southampton and the region who can help us identify worthwhile community projects aimed at helping vulnerable groups in need of financial support.”

According to national charity Women’s Aid, two-thirds of all referrals to refuges and shelters are rejected. On a typical day, 155 women and 103 children are turned away due to lack of space or specialist facilities and support services which can meet often complex needs – from mental health to drug and alcohol addiction.

“Programmes like our Recovery Toolkit, which help build self-esteem and confidence are key to helping victims of abuse break out of their situation,” says Louise Cox, Supported Housing Manager for Stonewater. “Unfortunately, they are becoming increasingly difficult for us to provide due to funding cuts and limited resources. We are very grateful to Longleigh Foundation for this £35,000 award which will help equip 15 of our residents with the confidence and survival skills they need to move on to a better and happier independent life.”

For more information about the work of Longleigh Foundation, business partnership opportunities, and details of the project eligibility criteria and the application process, visit: www.longleighfoundation.org