Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre for abused women faces ‘scary’ and uncertain future in wake of budget cuts


- Credit: PA

A refuge for abused women has a “cloud” hanging over its future in Bury St Edmunds in the wake of funding cuts by Suffolk County Council.

The Women’s Aid Centre has just celebrated its 40th year supporting and giving refuge to hundreds of victims of domestic abuse and their children.

Now it faces a “scary” and uncertain future, with the council likely to put the service out to tender in 2016 as part of a range of measures aimed at saving £38 million.

Christina Dye, chair of the centre’s trustees, said: “We have never been through something like this before, but we have a great board of trustees and will be talking to experts on how to try and win a tender.

“It is scary. What we do is very specialist, a different provider coming in may not have those skills. Anyone could put up someone in a B&B but that is not protecting them. There is a cloud hanging over us, it is our employees’ jobs and their future as well. I am worried the women we help won’t be protected.”

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50% of their funding comes from Suffolk County Council, with the centre facing a £26,000 funding gap this year due to the cuts.

Alan Murray, county council cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “With any support we provide to the most vulnerable members of the community, we need to consider the best way in which to fund the service and carefully ensure needs are met.

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“We are working with individual providers to ensure taxpayers’ money delivers proficiency without any loss of service.”

For more information about the centre visit www.burystedmundswomensaid.org.uk.

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