This piece was in the Northern Echo on 12 September 2016.

AN ORGANISATION which helps women fleeing from sexual or domestic abuse has been given almost half a million pounds’ worth of lottery funding.

Eva Women’s Aid, based in Redcar, clinched the funding from the Big Lottery, which is today giving out £1.5m of grants across the North-East.

The domestic violence charity runs three safe houses, one of which, for women aged 16-24, already benefits from Big Lottery funding.

The new funding, of £484,701, will allow Eva to continue to operate the safe house for women aged up to 44, and to help domestic abuse survivors with advice on solicitors, health, banking, benefits, housing, employability and identifying abusive behaviour.

Many of the women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence have complex needs, such as mental health or drug and alcohol issues.

Eva already runs a specialist refuge for women over 45, which is funded separately.

Richinda Taylor, chief executive of Eva, said: “Our previous project was supportive of women aged 16-24 and we didn’t have a particular project aimed at women in between, although we do support women of all ages.”

She said new housing benefit caps could threaten the future of safe houses or refuges for women escaping domestic abuse, and it was hoped the government would introduce an exemption for refuges.

But the lottery funding would help, she said.

“It means that the two properties funded by the lottery can carry on at least.

“The extra money we received from housing benefit meant we could offer the essential additional support in the safe house. This means we can still hope to offer that.”

Other projects to receive money include Durham Deafened Support, which was given £360,587 to extend its services for people who have lost their hearing either by illness or injury, to help them take back control of their lives and be as independent as possible.

Support workers will be able to give advice on phones compatible with hearing aids and personal listening equipment, and also enable people to access groups which cover lip reading and British Sign Language.

GymMad Gymnastics Academy in Stockton also clinched £10,000 to set up a community gymnastics academy, buy equipment and deliver weekly gymnastics sessions.

Other projects to benefit included Gay Advice Darlington, the Hope Foundation in Middlesbrough, Preston Primary School Eaglescliffe, near Stockton, and Brotton Village Hall in Brotton, east Cleveland.

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund England grant making director said: “So many local organisations are enabling people to improve their communities, bringing positive changes to their lives and futures. It’s wonderful to hear how these great projects have helped people overcome barriers, learn new skills and improve their lives.”

The latest awards have been made through the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All, of up to £10,000, and Reaching Communities programmes, which offers larger awards of over £10.000.

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