Safer Places receives £15,000 emergency funding from Essex Community Foundation to bolster refuge service provision during the pandemic.

Safer Places has a range of supported accommodation in Essex including crisis communal refuges and self-contained flats which act as a lifeline for the Essex community and provide 46 families with a safe place to live at any one time.

Far more than a ‘bed for the night’ or places to stay, these refuges provide life changing support to families fleeing domestic abuse. Safer Places refuges are not funded by the local authority and have been run over the last year from donations and earned income.

Essex Community Foundation launched the Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme to get help quickly to voluntary and community organisations that are helping older and vulnerable people and those that are in crisis and need emergency funding to keep their vital services running.The funds have helped organisations to establish and adapt projects and services and given much needed financial aid to organisations experiencing a loss of funding as a direct result of the pandemic.

Janet Dalrymple, chief executive at Safer Places, said the help was crucial as the grant will allow us to continue to support those most at risk.

"We continue to experience an increase in demand for our support. Unfortunately, at the same time, due to the impact of Covid-19 we are facing a devastating loss of funds. A lot of uncertainty remains around our events, fundraising activities, projects, training and the impact on our core services; not being able to run these in the same way will have a huge impact on our income. We are not an organisation who can hit ‘pause’ on our work and we rely on our earned income to keep our Essex refuges open. Without the funds these streams generate we are at risk of not being able to deliver vital life-saving services to those who need it most, now more than ever as survivors need to know there is a safe place to go."

"We are grateful to Essex Community Foundation; it is wonderful to see so many supporting charities at this time of need. The money will help us to continue to deliver our vital services."

"We know that Covid-19 will continue to have a devastating impact on those experiencing abuse which will not disappear when the lockdown is lifted; this is why the work of Safer Places is so incredibly important.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the work of local charities. Some are having to pause their services due to social distancing and others are needing to be agile and adapt quickly to continue to deliver support to their beneficiaries. Amongst the issues that the pandemic, and its restrictions, has caused is a spike in domestic abuse cases. It was vital that Safer Places received this funding quickly, to help them support people who have experienced domestic abuse and also for their work to raise awareness of this crime.”

Safer Places services are open as usual, the helpline, 03301 025 811 is available 24/7, 7 days a week and the Live Chat service is open Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm and Fri-Sun 8pm-8am.

For more information about ECF visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk