North Ayrshire Women’s Aid is concerned that North Ayrshire Council has opted to cut funding for essential specialist services in the area. The tender that is currently available represents a 22 per cent cut to the existing refuge, counselling support and outreach service fund and does not address the existing children’s service and addiction support work, nor does it communicate the rationale for removing the funding for these services.
There is a need for the variety of services that the organisation offers beyond refuge accommodation, such as advice on financial and housing issues, advocacy and legal support, and outreach and follow-on support.
The changes in funding could pose a real threat to specialist support services in the local community, at a time when the need for such services is growing. This could prevent North Ayrshire Women’s Aid from achieving its ambitions and could result in more women and children being harmed by domestic abuse.
The focus for the organisation is now on responding to the tender process within the tight timescales, with the aim of securing the funding on offer, and preparing its staff for a potential redundancy situation.
Anne Paton, Chief Executive Office at North Ayrshire Women’s Aid, said: “The funding cuts will almost certainly affect the sustainability of our service. Refuge is much more than a bed for the night – our services ensure that women and their children have a place of safety and support through their journey from crisis to recovery”.