A NEW support centre for victims of domestic abuse will open its doors in Wirral next week following a major funding boost.
The Lighthouse Centre, opening on Monday, is part of the Involve NorthWest charity, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
The new service will be the only one in Wirral that tackles domestic abuse from the family perspective.
The new centre has been made possible thanks to £249,530 in Community Match Challenge (CMC) funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
Wirral Council has co-located its early help domestic abuse team into the charity’s premises in Royal Standard House, Birkenhead, to work alongside Involve’s Lighthouse Centre, which also has the children's Leapfrog programme and the Domestic Abuse Peer Mentoring scheme.
Domestic abuse manager Keri Lockhart-Thomson said the centre's name reflects its approach to tackling domestic abuse.
"A lighthouse doesn’t go into the storm to rescue ships but rather guides them to safety", she said.
"If we shine the light brightly and meet people where they are at on their own journey, the decisions that people make are more sustainable.
“We are person-centred in our approach and are here to provide a safe space. No one will be judged or told what to do.”
Involve NorthWest was founded in 1991 to help reduce isolation and improve the mental health and self-esteem of residents.
The Lighthouse Centre will offer a drop-in facility and will be open Monday-Friday between 8.30am-4pm and will be aimed at supporting families and anyone requiring support in regard to domestic abuse.
The centre will also offer ‘My Time’ for people to form their own support networks within the community. Thursday night’s ‘My Time’ is for women who work and will run 5pm-7pm every week.
The CMC funding has helped convert six offices in Royal Standard House into the Lighthouse Centre, which has its own access door and signage.
The funding has also been used to pay for two domestic abuse support workers with specialist crisis training and the provision of mobile phones for mothers who flee abusive households and have to leave their possessions behind.
Keri Lockhart-Thomson said: “It is important that as we develop we listen to what people want and need and respond to that by adapting the service to meet that need.”
She added: “There simply wouldn’t be a Lighthouse Centre without the Steve Morgan Foundation and the DCMS funding.
“Reports of domestic violence have soared during the pandemic so there’s never been a more urgent need for the Lighthouse Centre than now.”
The Lighthouse Centre hosted a visit last week from Steve Morgan Foundation trustee Ashley Lewis; director of regional grants Jane Harris; and projects manager Ruth Dixon.