A project which houses women fleeing domestic violence has had to let all its permanent staff go after its funding was cut.
Bradford’s Anah Project is just one of the local charities being increasingly squeezed as funding dwindles, while the people in need of their help rise, a new report warns.
Involve Yorkshire and the Humber said many charities were suffering from this double blow to their finances. It gave the Anah Project as an example, saying over the last three years the project had gone from a seemingly secure funding position to living off dwindling reserves, due to run out in January.
The project helps victims from ethnic minority backgrounds flee abusive partners.
It had been funded by Bradford Council’s Supporting People programme, but the Council would only offer further funding if the project widened its scope to victims from all backgrounds. The project decided it wanted to continue as a specialist service and as a result its funding was cut.
All permanent staff were made redundant in March and the project is now being sustained from reserves, with help from casual staff and volunteers.
Project manager Joyce Simon said: “It is frustrating because we have women on our waiting list who need help and have nowhere to go. I think we will get funding and I am just hoping for good news soon.
“If services such as ours no longer exist, women will not have a choice about the sort of support they want. The impact will be that women and girls will stay in abusive relationships, live in isolation and self harm and hospitalisation will rise.”
According to the report, only 13 per cent of the region’s charities surveyed said they were planning to take on more staff over the next three months, but nearly half said they wanted to increase the number of volunteers.
The report said: “The shift from paid staff to volunteers represents more than a change in cost.
“Volunteers and paid professionals tend to bring different skills and strengths and a large- scale shift from paid professionals to volunteers could leave the sector wanting in some areas and also preclude the contributions of those who cannot afford to provide unpaid labour.”
A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We were forced to reconfigure domestic violence services over the last couple of years after the loss of £125,000 in Government funding. However, we still invest £1.5m in domestic violence services and because of the way we re-structured our provision we are now helping more people than before.”