Women's Centre is saved and will increase help
A SUPPORT centre for women in Derby who have suffered from domestic abuse has been saved from closure after being awarded a grant of nearly £500,000.
Derby Women's Centre was due to close at the end of the month, after its council funding was axed, but the Big Lottery Fund has secured its future and will allow it to expand.
The centre will invest the grant into its continued support for victims of abuse, the help it gives to abusers and the centre's work with the black and minority ethnic forum.
The centre, based in Leopold Street, currently has 2,500 visitors a year but this will be able to increase to 3,500 because of the funding.
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Yasmin Nazir, chief executive of the centre, said: "The funding is a massive lifeline for us. We're ecstatic because we thought we'd have to close.
"We can now continue and increase the counselling we provide for victims and work we do with them.
"We work with the perpetrators, both male and female. The probation service is very helpful with this."
The centre has seen a big increase in men coming forward as victims since the recent Coronation Street story line involving the characters Tyrone and Kirsty, which has lasted several months.
She said: "We'd like to thank everybody who has helped us, especially our local ward councillors, Fareed Hussain and Gulfraz Nawaz.
"We would also like to pay a special thanks to all of the people who come and visit us and seek our support."
An anonymous woman from the centre who had suffered an abusive marriage praised the centre.
She said: "The centre has played a massive part in my life because they've done so much for me.
"I was in a situation where my family didn't want me because of the man I married.
"My husband's family didn't like me, though, and didn't want anything to do with me.
"I became very afraid of my husband because he became so controlling.
"He made me feel like nothing. The mental and physical abuse was constant.
"The centre has done a brilliant job and I now feel much better.
"I feel like a real person again and I no longer feel so alone."
The centre's funding was ended by the city council in June 2012 and it has had to rely on donations and paying service users since then.
The Big Lottery Fund's money will not be given to the centre until August and meanwhile councillors Hussain and Nawaz will help them find ways to continue after funding ceases at the end of the month.