'Divine intervention' for South Yorkshire women's charity after celebrity vicar Kate Bottley backs fight for survival

Reverend Kate Bottley is backing the campaign to save South Yorkshire Women's Aid
Reverend Kate Bottley is backing the campaign to save South Yorkshire Women's Aid

A South Yorkshire women's charity has hailed a celebrity vicar's 'divine intervention' in its battle to remain open.

South Yorkshire Women's Aid today passed its £2,000 fundraising target after Reverend Kate Bottley, from Channel 4 show Gogglebox, said she was donating her first new £10 note featuring author Jane Austen to the cause - and her Twitter followers did likewise.

The JustGiving appeal, which is due to close at midnight tonight, had been agonisingly short of reaching its target until her generosity prompted a late flurry of contributions.

The reverend, who has more than 90,000 followers on Twitter, tweeted today: "My first #feministtenner is going to @SaveWomensAid #dojaneproud Solidarity and sisterhood."

The £2,000 will enable the Doncaster-based charity, which supports victims of domestic violence, to keep running until at least Christmas.

But more is needed to secure its long-term future after Doncaster Council said it would not be renewing its £30,000 funding, which the council claimed was only ever intended as a start-up grant.

Jennifer Jones, who herself fled violence and now volunteers for the charity, said: "We're really grateful for this divine intervention from Kate.

"This means we can pay the rent on the office and continue to offer vital, potentially life-saving support to women until at least Christmas as we continue our attempts to secure additional funding.

"If we can get the money we need to secure our long-term future and remain open beyond Christmas I know it will save lives," added Jennifer, whose name has been changed to protect her identity.

The Doncaster-based charity claims to be the only specialist domestic violence service in South Yorkshire run by women for women.

It said it had been 'inundated' with more than 100 referrals since March this year and has warned women will remain trapped in abuse and could die if it is forced to close.

The charity says it only learned last month that its council funding would not be renewed.

But the council claims it was made clear from the start this was a one-off grant and said it was working with the charity to help it find alternative sources of funding.

The council said it would continue to support domestic abuse victims in Doncaster, having spent nearly £1.1 million last year on a 'comprehensive' range of services for them.

You can still donate until midnight tonight at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saveSYWA.