Lack of funds forces closure of Stevenage-based charity the Herts Women’s Centre

Vanessa Bednarz, director of the Herts Womens Centre, has announced the charitys closure

Vanessa Bednarz, director of the Herts Womens Centre, has announced the charitys closure - Credit: Archant

A charity which supports women who have been raped or suffered domestic abuse is to permanently close in September due to a lack of funds.

The Herts Women’s Centre was first established in Stevenage in 1996 and has been based at The Hyde since 2004, offering domestic abuse and rape crisis support, as well as counselling and family law appointments.

It has helped rebuild the lives of countless women, offering self-development courses and social groups and supporting women into employment through its Career Investment Project.

But director Vanessa Bednarz has revealed that the charity has faced an uphill struggle to raise the money needed to continue its services for some time, and is now no longer able to afford to keep going.

She said: “It is with sincere regret we are announcing the closure of The Herts Women’s Centre in Stevenage.

“The centre has struggled many times in previous years to raise the funds to continue our services and our whole existence has been reliant on a small core staff team who have worked tirelessly to keep our doors open.

“Unfortunately in the current climate of reduced funds, increased building maintenance and service charges, and utlity bills, we now feel the occupation of our current premises is no longer viable.”

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She added: “We are extremely proud of our many achievements over the years – we have been a reliable and respected service within Stevenage and the surrounding areas. We have worked in partnership with both statutory and local services in meeting the needs of our local community and always been inspired by the women who have accessed our services.

“Our work will continue up until September and all those currently attending the centre will continue to be supported.

“We would like to thank all those who have contributed in the delivery of our services.”

One woman who has used the charity as a lifeline said: “It’s terrible news and so sad. They have helped so many people - me included - and there are many more who need helping.”

Another woman said: “This is so sad. I don’t know what I would have done without this place after I fled a domestic violence relationship. It’s such a shame for everyone, especially those who continue to need the support.”