EVA Women's Aid is a charity which supports women and their families in Teesside, who are, or have been, victims of domestic or sexual abuse and violence.
A loan from Charity Bank helped the charity to purchase a new property for use as a specialist safe house for women aged over 45. Charity Bank has recently approved a further loan to help fund the purchase of an additional property which will provide safe accommodation for women. Here, Chief Executive Richinda Taylor explains how this enabled them to reach and support more women.
“EVA Women’s Aid was established in 1987 to provide specialist support services for women and children who have been affected by any form of domestic abuse and/or sexual violence at any time in their lives. We are one of only a few charities that offers complete wraparound services with safe accommodation, alongside a range of other support.
“We provide specialist counselling and therapeutic services; advice and information on topics such as benefits, employment, education, health and more; legal and other information surgeries; and a range of support groups. We also recently developed a Programme, called EVA-lution, which helps women look towards the future, set goals and build confidence.
“In 2015, we decided to open a specialist safe house for women over 45. These women have different needs to younger victims and often find it more difficult to speak out and seek support. We’ve worked with women aged 80 and over who’ve been subjected to violence and psychological control throughout their adult lives and sadly many believe that there’s no way out. This dedicated safe house has enabled us to raise awareness that there is help available and to support more of these women to break the cycle of abuse.
“We opened the doors on a Monday, were full by the Friday and have remained at 100% capacity ever since. We’ve also seen a huge increase in the numbers of women in that age group coming to seek help. We were only able to achieve this with support from the loan by Charity Bank.
“When we first met with Charity Bank, we really felt they understood our mission and what we wanted to do. The human side of the process was really important; we didn’t just want someone to sign a cheque but to be on board with our aims. It hasn’t all been straightforward, but we’ve maintained a good working relationship throughout.
“It’s getting harder and harder for charities like ours to get funding and it’s necessary to find creative ways to sustain services. Having ethical lenders like Charity Bank who exist to help the social sector is only going to become more essential in the future. I would say to anyone thinking about investing or saving their money with Charity Bank to simply look at the end result and see all the good that’s being done. EVA is 31 years old and I would like to see it carry on for another 30 years and more; social investment is key to making this happen.”