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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Single £25,000 donation boosts Rape Crisis Cumbria appeal

Our campaign to save cash-strapped Rape Crisis Cumbria has been given a major boost with a single donation of £25,000.

Carol Swainson   photo
Carol Swainson

The money has been pledged by the London-based grant-making trust the Garfield Weston Foundation, which has been following the News & Star’s Who Cares? campaign online.

Rape Crisis staff at the charity’s Cockermouth HQ wept with relief after officials from the trust contacted them to break the news.

The cash means the lifeline charity, which operates across east and west Cumbria, has bought another three months in which to continue its fight to get on to a stable financial footing.

It costs about £150,000 a year to fund the service and, thanks to the latest donation, Rape Crisis Cumbria is now just short of £70,000 – all of it raised through the News & Star’s campaign.

The charity’s manager Carol Swainson said: “We had a number of knock-backs last week, with various grant-making bodies telling us our applications were not successful, so this news came at just the right time.

“We’d sent a letter to The Garfield Weston Foundation asking for a donation.

“They rang us last week and told us they have been following the News & Star’s campaign from London. They asked a lot of questions about the position we are now in.”

“They left a message and when I phoned them back they told me they are prepared to offer £25,000: I burst into tears.

“It was such wonderful news. After all the knock-backs, it’s given us faith that there are organisations out there that believe in us.”

In recent week, clients helped by the charity have spoken movingly of how their lives have been turned around by Rape Crisis Cumbria, with several saying they owe their lives to that help. Donations have come from many sources – including individuals and organisations such as Carlisle City Council, Allerdale Council, and the office of Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes.

The Garfield Weston Foundation cash is the biggest single donation.

Carol added: “We are so grateful for this help – to the Foundation, to News & Star for bringing this to public attention, and to everybody who has donated to help us.

“One of our volunteers came into the office this with the sum of £197. She’d raised it by selling goods at Mitchells Auction rooms in Cockermouth. They agreed to not take any commission when she told them what the cash was for.

“We’re grateful to her and the auctioneers for being so helpful.

“Our future is not secure yet, but this gives us hope for the future.”

Rape Crisis Cumbria is helping hundreds of people across the county, and more than 50 of the 370 clients who are currently on the charity’s books are men.

A further 230 clients are occasional contacts who need support. The charity’s helpline number is 01900 829729. To donate, log on to the website at www.westcumbriarapecrisis.co.uk

The Garfield Weston Foundation was established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston, a Canadian businessman who moved to the UK with his family in 1932.

He was the creator of Associated British Foods and the Foundation was endowed with the donation of family-owned company shares.

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