Strategic Grant Funding for Women’s Centre

A STANLEY safe haven for women who have mental health issues, been subjected to abuse/trauma, or may be suffering long-term unemployment is celebrating a funding windfall to bolster its burgeoning business ambitions.

Just for Women received £620 from Stanley Town Council’s Strategic Grant Fund to buy machinery and materials to support the Crafting to Wellness group.

The new strategic small grants pot, worth £35,000, was launched in 2019 and supports smaller projects via a simple bidding process, administered by Stanley Town Council.

The award will help the not-for-profit organisation, which moved to its HQ St Joseph’s House in 2018, commercialise craft products, that include dolls, bedding and a host of other soft furnishings, produced at its Stanley base.

Just for Women director, Lestryne Tweedy, said: “Stanley Town Council has been an incredible source of support for Just for Women since we were established, most notably last year when it paid £190,000 for the St Joseph’s House building to allow us to continue delivering the vital support we do to vulnerable people in and around the town.

“This money from the Strategic Grant Fund will allow us to further develop the quality products being produced by the Crafting to Wellness group, which has helped many women and men unearth talents that many didn’t know they had.

“This fund is exactly what Stanley needs – it’s quick and easy to apply, very little bureaucracy and, once approved, the funding arrives amazingly quickly.”

Just for Women has helped countless women, and some men, find their feet following abusive relationships, mental illness, homelessness and other issues impacting negatively upon their lives.

Overseen by former social worker, Linda Kirk, who started Just for Women in 2011, the charity has grown from a support organisation to incorporate a business arm and is providing life skills training to people.

Using “crafting” as a form of therapy, it is now a cottage industry for the centre, which sells quilt & cushion covers, soft furnishings and teddy bears to help reduce the need for external funding for its support and training services.

Stanley Town Mayor, Cllr Carole Hampson, said: “For eight years, Just for Women has helped the most vulnerable people in and around Stanley not only find a safe haven, but provide access to training that has created jobs, improved mental health issues and given people a purpose in life.

“Hopefully, this new equipment and material will help Crafting to Wellness continue to develop this fantastic small business and contribute towards making more money that Just for Women can then re-invest in its support services.”

To find out how to apply to the Strategic Grant Fund visit: www.stanley-tc.gov.uk/grants/

Hedley House Opens Its Doors for Vulnerable Young People in Durham

Hedley House is a supported accommodation project for young people at risk of homelessness in County Durham, to provide safe and secure accommodation when facing difficult circumstances and/or being at risk of becoming homeless.

The project, based in Park Road, South Moor Stanley, is provided by a partnership of Changing Lives, Durham County Council Housing Solutions and Children and Young People’s Services.

The project was officially opened by Councillor Carole Hampson, then Town Mayor of Stanley.

In celebration of the launch, Changing Lives hosted an afternoon tea, which was prepared by the young residents. The event was well attended, with our CEO Stephen Bell welcoming guests from Durham Police, Durham Housing solutions and Durham County Council.

Finance Committee 12th December – Agenda and Papers

The Agenda and papers for next week’s Committee Meeting are linked below.

At the meeting Inspector Dave Stewart will speak to members about current policing priorities in Stanley. There will be an update from the Community Led Local Development Fund Officer about projects locally which are being funded through European Strategic Funding, an update on the activities of the STC Wardens service and a discussion about the budget for 2019/20.

The meeting starts at 6.30 pm, Wednesday 12th December at the Civic Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

‘-Finance and General Purposes Agenda 12.12.18

Background Papers Finance December 18 [PDF, 32.3 MB]

 

Full Council 25th September – Papers Uploaded

The agenda and background papers for next Tuesday’s Full Council meeting are linked below.   The meeting will be held at 6.30pm at the Civic Hall and is open to the general public.  Members of the public may ask questions in relation to the business on the agenda, please notify the Town Clerk in advance of the meeting.  Contact Us

the business to be considered at the meeting will include:

An update from the CLLD Funding Officer; Fireworks; Civic Hall Business Planning; Beacons of Light; Neighbourhood Wardens Update.

Council Agenda 25 September 2018

September 18 FC Supporting Papers

 

Full Council Agenda & Papers 24-4-18

The Agenda and background documents for next week’s Ordinary Council meeting have been uploaded. Items being discussed include: Petition received re: Coffee Shop; Proposal for Youth Theatre event on Armed Forces Day; Advice in County Durham local voluntary group networking event; Enhanced Warden Service.

‘-Full Council Agenda 24 April 2018

April 2018 Full Council Background Papers (Public)

 

Projects & Initiatives Committee 10th April 2018

The Agenda and papers for next week’s Projects Committee are linked below.

The meeting will be held at 6.30 pm on Tuesday 10th April at the Civic Hall. All meetings are open to the public.  Items to be considered:

Advice Service Specification

Youth Theatre production for Armed Forces Day

Advice in County Durham Networking Event

‘-Projects and Initiatives Agenda 10.4.18

Projects Background Papers (Public) April 18

Full Council Papers 27-3-18

The Agenda and Background Papers for next week’s Ordinary Council Meeting are linked below.  The meeting will be held at 6.30 pm at the Civic Hall. All meetings are open to the public. Please note: If you wish to ask a question at the meeting, it must be notified to the Clerk in advance of the meeting. The Clerk can be emailed on [email protected]

Business to be discussed at the meeting includes:

Member’s Initiative Fund – Details of the projects supported by Councillors in 2017/18

Events Specification – Tender details

Wardens SLA – Specification for enhanced wardens service

Civic Hall Hire charges

‘-Full Council Agenda 27 March 2018

Background Papers March 18

STC – Supporting the Just for Women Centre

In September 2015, Stanley Town Council was approached by PS Dave Clarke who had a vision to turn a junk shop on Stanley Front Street into a community cafe which would provide support, training and mentoring and help to tackle social isolation and a range of issues. The Town Council supported his vision by taking the lease of the building on and that initiative has grown into PACT House, which has been a shining example of how a local council can tactically deploy a small part of its budget to empower and enable a wide section of the community and support volunteering and community led social support by giving them a focal point with security of tenure.

The Council believes this model of supporting key local third sector partners is a model which not only provides support for people at the sharp end where it is needed but also represents incredible value for money. The Council could not possibly have provided a resource like PACT House on its own without spending hundreds of thousands of pounds and had it tried to, there would have been no guarantee that the public would have ‘bought in’ in the way that they have with PACT being an independent locally managed organisation.

Following this model, the Town Council is now in the process of trying to secure a permanent base for the Just for Women Centre. The Just for Women centre is another local success story, providing help and support and therapeutic services for hundreds of local women, young people (and men, through their CREE projects) which have been vital helping vulnerable people who have nowhere else to turn. They also work with young people from both local secondary schools and through the Catch 22 programme. Their current premises are being sold and there is a real risk that the charity and the services it provides could be lost to Stanley if they cannot find suitable alternative accomodation. The programme of austerity that has been in place for nearly 8 years means that many vital services supporting local people have been lost as the statutory providers can increasingly only deal with only those in absolutely dire need. Without services like Just for Women and PACT House, there would be many more in dire need which would stretch those statutory services even further and further squeeze people in need of help and support locally.

An article form the Northern Echo last year gives just some examples of the work that the centre has done locally.

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/15671566.A_haven_for_the_desperate___Just_For_Women_Centre_has_been_a_lifeline_for_women_from_all_over_the_region/

Local MP Kevan Jones, who is president of the charity, said “I’m delighted to see that the Town Council are rising to the challenge of using their limited resources to see services provided in Stanley in an innovative way by working in partnership and providing support to third sector providers to enable the community to help themselves and deliver much greater value for money”

This is why the Town is proposing to purchase a building in Stanley to lease to the Just for Women Centre to give them the security of tenure to keep their existing services going and be able to build their programme in the future. We welcome the public’s opinions as to whether supporting local charities to provide services in Stanley is a good approach for the Town Council to take.