Councils offer bailout to stop 43 domestic violence refuges from closing in Northamptonshire

All seven councils in Northamptonshire are set to agree a bailout package to stop 43 domestic violence refuges from closing through a Government funding shortfall.

Friday, 2nd September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 2nd September 2016, 11:46 am
Councils in Northamptonshire have agreed to bail out refuges in the county because the Government is still yet to decide how it will spend a £40m support package.

In its Spending Review and Autumn Statement of November 2015, the Tory Government announced plans to “continue to protect the most vulnerable” by “providing £40 million for services for victims of domestic abuse.”

However the Government has still not provided detailed information about the funding arrangements, or the criteria that it will use to assess applications.

The impact of the uncertainty has been felt hard Northamptonshire where the three providers of women’s refuges - safe houses for victims of domestic abuse - still do not know how they will be funded after their previous grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government ran out in March.

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Now Northampton Borough Council is set to agree a £138,000 bailout - which will be met by seven borough and district councils, the county council and the Police & Crime Commissioner - to keep them open.

Papers expected to be approved at next week’s cabinet state the bridge funding “has been provided on the strict condition that, when the DCLG eventually allocates the £40 million of domestic abuse funding, the money that has been paid by the county council, the commissioner and the borough and district councils will be reimbursed.”

However, it goes on to say that there is “no guarantee” the authorities will get their money back.

Northampton Borough Council is set to contribute around £38,000 of that amount, but if the refuges in Northampton do not receive adequate funding the council will have to take a financial hit.

The refuges are managed by managed by Northampton Women’s Aid (NWA), Wellingborough & East Northamptonshire Women’s Aid (WENWA) and Eve, which was formerly Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge.