Changing Lives opening event
Picture shows (from left): Dr Alan Billings, Debbie McKinney who runs the women’s centre, Amber project workers Cath Robinson and Mary Ellis, MP Rosie Winterton and Stephen Bell, chief executive of Changing Lives
Changing Lives’ Doncaster Women’s Centre and Community Hub has celebrated its move to a larger premises in the town centre with a launch event that was attended by over 100 people.
The new centre is just a five-minute walk from the old building on Cleveland Street, and the staff at Changing Lives have worked tirelessly to ensure that services are operating as normal to reduce the risk of disruption to the hundreds of women who access the centre on a weekly basis.
Located on Princes Street, the charity’s new centre in Doncaster will act as a community hub for local women to address their issues and take positive steps to a brighter future.
Doncaster Central MP Dame Rosie Winterton and Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, were on hand to officially open the centre with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Dr Billings presented a cheque to Changing Lives for £4,800. This money will be used to help people accessing a specialist project run by Changing Lives in Doncaster, which supports people with experience of sex work, survival sex and those at risk of sexual exploitation.
The funding, from the PCC’s community grant scheme, will help the Changing Lives team in Doncaster provide attack alarms for the women and men they work with through their outreach service.
Dr Billings said: “It was an honour to come along and receive a tour of the new premises in Doncaster. What was also interesting was to hear first-hand accounts of the service users at Changing Lives.
"Many will not realise how people’s lives can be affected so suddenly and the crisis caused by sudden life events. It is organisations like Changing Lives that provide women with a place to go and a support group tailored to providing them with the help and support they need.
"I wish Changing Lives the best of luck in their new premises.”
A women’s centre has existed in Doncaster town centre since 1923, with Changing Lives delivering the vital services for women and families since 2013.
The new centre will be home to Changing Lives’ existing services, including support for survivors of domestic abuse, women from the BAME community, ex-offenders and people suffering from mental health issues.
Changing Lives also offer a free crèche service to enable women with young children to access the help they need. The crèche has 154 children from 26 countries registered at the moment.
Local law firms Keeble Hawson and A&N Solicitors have offices in the new centre, as well as Doncaster Mind and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. These organisations will provide a community hub of support and advice for the women coming through Changing Lives’ doors.
Dame Rosie Winterton said: “We live in a stressful and changing world and we need to understand the impact of that on particular women and families. We can be so proud of what we have done here in Doncaster for women.
When I have international visitors I will bring them down to Changing Lives’ centre in Doncaster as an example of the fantastic work taking place to support women in the UK.”
Posted on Friday 24th March 2017