South Lincolnshire domestic abuse charity to receive share of £150,000 government funding
A charity helping families in South Holland affected by domestic abuse has received a £12,000 bonus for its work.
South Lincolnshire Domestic Abuse Service (SoLDAS), which runs a weekly advice centre in Holbeach, is one of seven domestic and sexual abuse charities that will share in more than £150,000 worth of funding announced on Friday.
The money was secured by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Marc Jones, mostly from the Ministry of Justice which launched a £25million support package for community services helping adults and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence in May.
Sarah Smith, operations manager for SoLDAS, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded about £12,000 in funding, obtained by Lincolnshire PCC Marc Jones from the Ministry of Justice.
"This will assist us greatly in our continuing support for victims of domestic abuse and their children across the South Holland and Boston Borough districts of Lincolnshire in these challenging circumstances of COVID-19."
"The charity has had to make huge changes in our working practices almost overnight and the team has been absolutely amazing.
"We have virtual support in place for all the victims we work with and, of course, staff continue to directly support families in refuge, many of whom have been deeply traumatised.
"The PCC has had the foresight to recognise the heightened workload of domestic abuse charities, such as SoLDAS, working in our very rural county and this grant will be used to make sure those victims are safe and supported."
SoLDAS is provided by Boston Women's Aid (BWA) which has been helping men, women and children affected by domestic violence for nearly 30 years.
Marie Chapman, BWA's funding and development manager, said: "This has been, and continues to be, a time of huge pressure on those who support the victims of domestic abuse and their children.
"One direct effect of the COVID-19 restrictions has been a sharp spike in the number of reports of domestic violence and abuse, resulting in high numbers of referrals for refuge provision.
"Another has been that while SoLDAS normally receives donations from individuals and groups that are sufficient to supply the needs of families in refuge - food, toiletries, nappies and feminine care, household items and clothes – this has ceased due to lockdown.
"Most families fleeing abuse arrive with hardly any belongings, often with just the clothes they are wearing, and with no access to funds.
"It then takes four weeks at least before Universal Credit payments start so unless the charity can provide everything the family needs, they cannot live."
Figures from Lincolnshire Police showed that reports of domestic abuse, stalking and harassment across the county rose by 5.5 per cent (645 more cases) in 2019-20, compared to 2018-19.
Between December 2019 and March 2020, 3,276 domestic abuse incidents were reported, 1,501 of which involved violence
Speaking to Police and Crime Panel members at a virtual meeting last month, Mr Jones said: "PCCs at a national level lobbied hard to get some additional funding for domestic abuse and sexual violence services.
"We were really pleased that the Ministry of Justice was successful in getting that additional funding from the Treasury.
"Lincolnshire had the opportunity to get its share for our local services and we invited all of our existing providers to submit bids.
"There was very strict criteria around these bids and they had to be specifically about the costs that had been incurred during this period, and specifically about the COVID-19 situation.
"It wasn't just a case of money to deliver extra services and we did have a number of people come forward.
"We are able to allocate that funding successfully to local services to help provide support for our residents."