Funding lifeline for Women's Aid
THE future for Dundalk Women's Aid looks set to be secured in the coming days, after a new €50,000 service level agreement was reached with Louth County Council.
The new agreement is expected to save the refuge from closure after the local authority committed to contributing the €50,000 every year.
The refuge operated by the Dundalk branch of Women's Aid had been facing closure at the end of June after funding contributed by the local authority had been cut to just €20,000.
But after a long battle to secure adequate funding, Women's Aid say they are now 'very hopeful.'
'We signed the new agreement last week, and are waiting for it to be signed and returned to us, hopefully in the coming days,' said Manager, Lisa Marmion.
Only then, she added, will the countdown to closure be called off, and Women's Aid staff 'can start putting in place our plans for the future.'
Lisa acknowledged the public support which emerged over the last few months 'support which showed just emotive the issue of domestic violence is, and how passionate people are about services and supports.'
In response to that outpouring of support, Women's Aid are planning to open the door of their refuge and hold a public consultation evening in early June.
'We would like to invite everyone in to show them where we would like to take the service, and how we hope to get there.'
Among the plans, said Lisa, which will be put in place once the new service agreement is received, is increasing capacity at the refuge.
Indeed the vital need for the Women's Aid refuge was highlighted by statistics from the last year which showed that the charity were unable to accommodate 293 requests for shelter.
'Our priority now is to increase capacity, and reduce the numbers who have to be turned away. There is clear evidence based need for this.'
Women's Aid were reported to have been planning a move to the former De La Salle building in Nicholas Street before the funding crisis hit.
Ms. Marmion added that the move still had not been ruled out.