Housing association partners with unique refuge project

The independently managed ‘safe space’ supports those unable to access a traditional refuge.

Support bids for domestic violence funding says DCLG

The YOU Trust – which provides You First, The Dorset County Integrated Domestic Abuse Service – and Sovereign Housing Association have together opened a new independently managed ‘safe space’ for those who are unable to access a traditional refuge.

This project will support and provide refuge to men, women with teenage boys (over the age of 15), Honour Based Violence couples and LGBT couples.

In addition, a group room and drop in space at the building will provide bespoke support for people living with domestic abuse within the community.

Katie Bielec, Service Manager for You First, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those who are experiencing domestic abuse where they need to leave their homes to be safe but cannot access a ‘normal’ refuge.

“Dorset is fantastic in supporting our women’s refuge and women’s centre and we know the community will embrace this project and the people who come to live here.

“Those experiencing domestic abuse feel isolated, alone and live in fear so it is vital that they know there is somewhere they may be able to go to be safe.”

YOU have worked hard over the last few years to increase refuge provision in Dorset County and this new project increases their refuge provision from 19 to 32 spaces – the trust can now support many more people fleeing domestic violence and abuse.

This remarkable achievement is due to the partnership work in Dorset and cross-community support.

In many areas across the country refuge provision has been cut and YOU are pleased to be involved with a county that is bucking the national trend.

Sovereign were able to provide a suitable property in order to make the refuge possible, and is part of long-running partnership between the two organisations.

Helen Hann, Divisional Director, Sovereign said: “At a time when funding for support provision is decreasing, we are delighted to be working with You Trust by launching such a trailblazing initiative which will provide accommodation for victims of domestic abuse, regardless of gender.

“We were fortunate to have a building available which we have refurbished so it‘s now suitable for the needs of the client group and You Trust.

“This provision endorses Sovereign’s commitment to working with valued partners in the provision of housing for people with specific support needs.

“We’ve worked closely with You Trust over a number of years and are pleased to be expanding our supported housing portfolio with them.”

Over the last three years across Dorset, You First, have provided support and advice to more than 3000 women, men and children directly experiencing domestic violence and abuse and have provided guidance and support to family and friends.