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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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New clients show vital need for Cumbria Rape Crisis charity

Closure-threatened Rape Crisis Cumbria has taken on 15 new clients since the News & Star launched its campaign to save the charity.

Staff at its Cockermouth HQ yesterday said the wave of new contacts from people asking for help underlines the continuing and desperate need for the charity’s work.

Donations have continued to come in but staff say they are keen to stress that the battle to save Rape Crisis Cumbria is still far from won.

Carol Swainson, who manages the charity, said she and fellow workers and volunteers had been deeply moved by the generosity of locals and organisations which have helped push the amount raised in just over a week towards £28,000.

That figure means the charity will now be able to continue operating until the end of March. To guarantee another year of operation would require total funding in the region of £150,000.

“The response has been phenomenal,” said Carol. “There have been donations from individuals ranging from 10 pence to £1,000. We had a £25 cheque from one person who just said that they believe in our organisation. Somebody else has just today handed in a cheque for £800.

“And our clients are continuing to lobby MPs. One even wrote to the Queen.

“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had 15 new clients. Some of them are victims of historic sexual abuse.

“It may be that have seen other people telling their stories in the News & Star and decided that they too need to have support.”

Carol said her big fear is that locals will assume wrongly that Rape Crisis Cumbria has now been saved.

She added: “Sadly, that is not yet the case. We need to keep fighting for our future.

“We have not asked our clients to tell their stories but some of them have chosen to do that because they feel so strongly about keeping this charity going.”

Support and pledges of funding has come a wide variety of sources, ranging from Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes, Allerdale Council and Carlisle City Council, and from individuals far and wide, including Ireland, Stoke and London.

To find out more, or to donate, log on to www.westcumbriarapecrisis.co.uk.

Another Cumbrian charity offers help to victims of sexual and domestic violence.

Most of the clients with Safety Net, which operates in east and west Cumbria, are children and young people, their ages ranging from 3 to 25. It also helps people over the age of 25 who have been victims of sexual or domestic violence provided they have a child under the age of 16 living at home.

All Safety Net’s staff delivering therapeutic services are professionally qualified. See www.safetynet-carlisle.org.uk

Anne Pickles – page 14

PColeman@cngroup.co.uk

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