Sunderland domestic violence charity looks set to lose £586,000 in funding

Clare Phillipson of Wearside Women in Need
Clare Phillipson of Wearside Women in Need

The boss of a domestic violence charity on Wearside says confirmation that the organisation is set to lose almost £600,000 in funding is “disastrous”.

Wearside Women in Need (WWIN) chiefs spoke of fears several months ago that they were set to lose cash from Sunderland City Council.

Director Clare Phillipson has shown the Echo a letter confirming WWIN’s contract with the council for provision of housing related support services, equating to £586,000, will expire in July and not be renewed.

Council chiefs say however that it does not mean there will no support for domestic violence victims.

The letter, from the council’s head of housing support and community living Alan Caddick read: “As you will be aware the present contract arrangement for the provision of housing related support services will naturally expire on July 13.

“I am writing to confirm that as from July 14 the current contracts will not be re-commissioned.

“Please accept this letter as formal written notice as a result of the service not being re-commissioned the contract between the council and Wearside Women in Need will not be extended or renewed and will expire on July 13. The council wish to thank you for your work throughout the duration of this contract and wish you well for the future.”

Ms Phillipson said: “This is disastrous and we don’t know how we will be able to keep any services open.

“We raise half a million pounds each year to keep our services going but we rely on core funding and after losing this we don’t know if there will be any more coming in.

“This is an absolute disaster for children and women who are experiencing domestic violence in Sunderland. We have nearly 250 years of experience among our staff of dealing with domestic violence, which could go to waste.”

Despite the news about the funding, at a recent council cabinet meeting council leader Paul Watson said there will be a domestic violence service for the city, despite constraints on finances.

And today, Coun Graeme Miller, portfolio holder for health, housing and adult services, said: “Nobody at the city council has ever said that there would be an end to supporting the victims of domestic violence in Sunderland.

“There has been a lot of scaremongering on this matter and any suggestion that funding and all services are ceasing, is misleading, mischievous and, quite frankly, wrong.

“What is correct is that a range of partners and providers are now working more closely together and pooling funds.

“It is this partnership that has now secured more than £660,000 coming to the Northumbria Police area to help support the victims of domestic violence.”