Cash lifeline for Lancashire’s domestic violence refuges

County Hall
County Hall

Nine refuges for victims of domestic violence have been thrown an £800,000 cash lifeline by the county council.

But the council’s support for refuges will be reduced by £70,000 .

County Coun Tony Martin

County Coun Tony Martin

And from next April Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw will take over responsibility for commissioning domestic abuse services.

The shake-up follows the latest round of cost cutting by the county council, which last week agreed to axe key funding for support services it is not legally obliged to provide.

Cabinet member Coun Tony Martin said difficult decisions had to be made about the future of such services . He said: “It’s very much the judgement of Solomon in finding the most needy and deserving of many deserving causes.”

The refuges are in Preston, Chorley, South Ribble, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster, West Lancashire, Burnley and Pendle.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw.

Mr Grunshaw said:“By taking on the lead commissioning role for survivors of domestic abuse and combining that with the work we are already doing supporting victims of crime I am delighted we have been able to find a way to support the County Council in being able to continue funding for refuges. These are places of safety for women and children when they need them most and their work undoubtedly saves lives.

“The residents of Lancashire made it clear how they felt on this issue and it is right that public bodies should work together in these challenging times to find more efficient ways to continue delivering the services that people care so much about.”

The Council has now set up a new annual £3m Prevention and Early Help Fund to help some of the most vulnerable. As well as supporting refuges from a total allocation of £1.25 m for domestic abuse services, there will be £1.25m for services for homeless people with complex needs and £500,000 for crisis support. Up to £1m will be spent on reconfiguring housing and support services for care leavers and young homeless and on services for homeless households with complex needs.

Coun Martin said the new crisis support funding would help those in sudden need “to buy furniture, gas and electricity, or food, and to receive support to help them avoid similar situations in the future.”

A cross-party Cabinet working group had worked together to advise where to direct spending.