Abuse charity welcomes £170k from Rotherham Council's Covid reserves

COUNCIL bosses have used their Covid recovery reserves to cover a £170,000 shortfall in funding at a charity for abuse victims.
Rothacs chief executive Jo McKinneyRothacs chief executive Jo McKinney
Rothacs chief executive Jo McKinney

Rotherham Abuse Counselling Service was left with the black hole in funding after a bid to the Ministry of Justice was rejected.

This left the Moorgate-based charity – known as Rothacs – £40,000 short this year and £130,000 down on providing services in 2024/25.

Over the last 12 months, Rothacs has had contact with 1,203 Rotherham residents, providing around 100 counselling sessions a week.

The loss of funding would have meant about a third of this work would no longer be carried out – but RMBC has stepped in.

Jo McKinney, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We are thrilled the council has given us this funding.

“Earlier this year we lost out on our bid for a Ministry of Justice grant, which meant we were facing a shortfall in funding this year and an even greater deficit next year.

“This loss of funding would have meant a cut to some counselling sessions as we rely on external funding to continue our work through grants and contacts.

“We are, therefore, extremely grateful to all the organisations, including the council, who support us in this way.

“We will now be able to keep up our offer of counselling for local people who have experienced trauma and abuse.”

The service provides free specialist counselling to anyone over the age of 13 who has experienced trauma – including domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation or child sexual abuse.

RMBC leader Cllr Chris Read said: “The government’s policy of making areas compete against each other for this sort of funding saw grants given to all our neighbouring authorities here in South Yorkshire during the summer, while Rotherham again lost out.

“That was obviously a concern for us, as we continue to try to ensure that survivors of abuse get the support they need locally. Fortunately, we are in a position where we can make up for the shortfall on this occasion, so additional counselling sessions can continue to be provided to people who need them.”

The council has about £500,000 left in its Covid reserves pot.