Newark Women’s Aid Refuge needs £140,000 a year to stay open, but funding is due to end next March
Urgent funds are needed to keep a life-saving charity open — and its has enlisted the help of a Britain's Got Talent finalist.
Popular swing band Jack Pack will appearing in a one-off show at the Palace Theatre, Newark, next month to help to keep Newark Women’s Aid Refuge open.
The charity has provided refuge and safety to women and children fleeing from domestic violence, for more than 45 years, supporting on average 40 women and 52 children a year.
The refuge, the only one of its kind in the Newark area, needs to raise £140,000 a year to stay open.
However, but its main fundingfrom the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government — of which the Secretary of State is Newark MP Robert Jenrick — is due to end in March 2020, leaving the board with a shortfall of £83,000 a year.
The shelter was set up by Marlene after she fled from domestic violence in the 1970s.
Marlene and the staff want to remain anonymous to protect their identities.
Marlene said: "It costs £140,000 a year to run our service, but it saves lives, and you can't put a price on that."
"We need to get cracking before the funding runs out, but there's only four of us and we are also trying to move and house the women and children we are looking after.
In a desperate attempt to keep this essential local facility open, Newark Women’s Aid have persuaded Jack Pack to appear in Newark for one night only on Friday November 15, with ticket sales going toward keeping this crucial service open.
Andrew Bourn, of Jack Pack, said: "Domestic Violence is such an emotive issue all over the UK and seems to be getting worse.
"So when we were asked to help to stop this refuge from closing we just couldn't refuse. We should all try to give back to society in some way if we can.
"I really hope that Newark comes together and supports this event, it's going to be a fabulous evening."
Mr Jenrick said he would make urgent enquiries to Nottinghamshire County Council to clarify the funding for Newark Women’s Aid.
"The government is increasing funding for women’s refuges next year and with our important Domestic Abuse Bill, currently passing through Parliament, is likely to very substantially increase funding thereafter," he said.
"Ensuring those suffering from domestic abuse have safe places to stay and find safe, high quality homes is a priority for me and this government."
Tickets for the event cost £22.50, and are available from the Palace Theatre box office.
Marlene and her staff insist on offering their families seeking refuge a safe, yet cosy home while they are in their care. Each woman is offered a welcome pack with essential toiletries and children are given a cuddly toy.
As well as appealing for monetary donations to keep the refuge going, the refuge is also appealing for donations of cleaning products, as well as women's toiletries such as hair brushes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner.
"We want our families to feel at home while they are with us. It is a big step for them to take and often these families come to us with nothing, and the least we could do is offer them a beautiful room," Marlene said.
To find out more about Newark Women's Aid, or to make a donation, go to newarkwomensaid.com or call 01636 679687.
More by this authorRachel Armitage