LINDA KIRK, BCAh
Recognising the plight of many women on the margins of society, Linda used her own money to rent an empty shop in Stanley, County Durham to use as a centre for women who are survivors of domestic abuse. The women are often referred by specialist services but can self-refer. The centre now runs creative sessions, drop ins, counselling and crisis resolution. Many service users have issues with mental health, offending or drug and alcohol abuse and have no nowhere else to turn.
In 2011 Linda realised the need, locally, for support for women, most of whom lack confidence or financial means to visit numerous providers to get the range of support which Linda provides under one roof. She maintains strong connections with victim support, the police and mental health organisations in order to help protect and support the women enhancing their lives in a disadvantaged area, through offering a comprehensive support system which is more easily accessible.
Over the last 7 years the centre has seen a large increase in historic sexual and physical abuse cases, which are damaging to both men and women in the community. The impact is devastating and traumatic, so Linda devised a programme to raise awareness about risk factors and promote personal safety.
Nominated by: Debbie Kirkwood