£500k lifeline for Rotherham abuse charity

By Gareth Dennison | 24/02/2017

£500k lifeline for Rotherham abuse charity
Rotherham Abuse Counselling Service staff (from left to right), Cohen Smith, admin apprentice, Lisa Davies, administrator, Natalie Thompson, service manager, Gaynor Smith, clinical lead, Aneemarie House, specialist councillor and Shabina Ishaq, specialist councillor.

A CHARITY providing a lifeline for hundreds of abuse survivors has been given almost £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The cash will support the work of Rotherham Abuse Counselling Service - rebuilding lives after rape, sexual or domestic abuse - for the next five years.

Service manager Natalie Thompson said: “I can’t express what brilliant news this is for us. 

“Without this, the service would be a lot smaller. We wouldn’t be able to help as many people and our waiting list would grow.”

The service delivered 2,967 counselling sessions last year, up from 2,222 in 2015, and has since launched group therapy for men.

Natalie said: “At the moment, we are still trying to maintain. We have expanded in the last year and our fight for the moment is just to maintain that.

“Longer term, we would like to expand further, see more people and maybe get to a place where fewer people are needing us because other types of support, like prevention, are helping.”

One area which it is hoped will continue to develop is the outreach aspect of support. Clients’ first contact can be made elsewhere if they do not feel comfortable attending the service’s Moorgate base to begin with.

Natalie said: “The outreach work is another part of the support, where people sometimes need help literally getting through the door.”

Chairman Nick Arkle said: “This funding means that RACS can continue to offer a service to some of the most vulnerable people in Rotherham. 

“It is also an acknowledgement of the care, hard work and dedication of our staff.”

The £496,396 grant is the second round of funding to come from the Big Lottery Fund. 

Other funders include Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group, the Ministry of Justice, Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the Henry Smith Charity and Tudor Trust.

The service is also about to enter the second of a three-year contract from Rotherham Borough Council to provide counselling for CSE survivors.

One hundred projects across Yorkshire and the Humber were given a total of £6.7 million in the newest round of Big Lottery Fund grants.

Kimberworth Community Primary, Brinsworth Manor Infants, Brinsworth Whitehill Primary and High Greave’s parent and toddler group were each given about £10,000 for health and fitness projects.

RotherFed will use its £8,658 on a project helping tenants to better manage their finances.

Rotherham Sangeet and Choir Group will spend £9,460 on musical activities aimed at reducing isolation. 

Treeton Momorial Community Centre will buy a grass cutter to maintain its playing fields and Voluntary Action Rotherham will create a new database to match volunteers with opportunities.

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