Fundraising campaign launched in bid to save South Yorkshire Women's Aid

Campaigners stage their protest.
Campaigners stage their protest.

A fundraising campaign launched to help save a specialist domestic violence service from closure has raised hundreds of pounds.

Supporters of South Yorkshire Women's Aid in Doncaster, which helps victims escape abuse and rebuild their lives, have warned it could close after its existing grant runs out in December.

They say the service has been 'inundated' with over 100 referrals since March this year and closure could put lives at risk.

An online fundraising page has now been set up and has so far raised nearly £700 towards an initial target of £1000.

A statement on the page reads: "Domestic violence is a massive problem globally, and Doncaster has some of the highest repeat rates of domestic violence and has a higher proportion of high risk cases - high risk meaning severe danger of murder."

It described a potential closure as a "devastating blow to the women and girls within the community."

Women's Aid had been running in Doncaster for more than 40 years before closing temporarily in March last year.

Doncaster Council last April awarded SYWA £30,000 to resume the service and says that grant was extended to run till the end of this year after it took longer than expected to get back up and running.

The council claims it was made clear that was a one-off grant to help establish the service, which would then be expected to find other funding sources.

But staff at SYWA said they only learned this month that no council funding would be available for the service next year.

They have staged protests against the potential closure in the town centre.

The council said it had spent nearly £1.1 million last year on a 'comprehensive' range of services for domestic abuse victims.

Councillor Chris McGuinness, Doncaster Council's cabinet member for communities, the voluntary sector and environment, said: "We are continuing to work closely with SYWA to find other sources of grant funding and are helping them draw up a number of funding submissions to support their existence.

"We are also looking to see if there are alternative opportunities for premises in the town centre which are more affordable and suitable in the longer term."