Cumbria rape support group in funding crisis

THE clock is ticking on a Cumbrian charity that provides support to victims of sexual assault.

Rape Crisis Cumbria, which helps around 350 people a year, needs £150,000 to secure one more year of support, but £25,000 would buy time to apply for further funding.

The charity has until November 15 to raise the cash or victims will be left ‘without a voice.’ Manager Carol Swainson said: “It is seen by clients as a lifeline.

“On November 15 the money will run out and we won’t be able to offer any help. We had our annual general meeting on Friday and lots of clients turned up; they are all devastated.”

Ms Swainson said the money would give the charity, which has three members of staff and 26 trained volunteers, ‘breathing space’ until the beginning of the next financial year in April.

“We have 15 outstanding funding applications and have contacted them all making them aware of our situation but we need time,” she said.

Last year the Cockermouth-based charity received 223 new referrals, with around ten per cent of those coming from South Lakeland.

It boosted the number of clients being given support to 350, with numbers always on the rise.

More than 50 of the clients who are currently in direct contact with Rape Crisis Cumbria are men.

“We offer free support to anyone over the age of 12 who has been affected by rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse at any time in their lives,” said Ms Swainson.

“This includes support for partners, carers, family members and friends.”

Donations can be made at www.westcumbriarapecrisis.co.uk or by phoning 01900 829729.

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