On Tuesday 29th October 2019, a range of women’s organisations have written an open letter to the Mayor of Newham, Rohksana Fiaz calling on the Council to re-instate funding for the London Black Women’s Project specialist BME refuges.
London Black Women’s Project has been running the Newham refuges for 32 years and yet risks closure on November 5th unless the Council reverses its decision. The letter has been signed by Imkaan, Rape Crisis England & Wales, the End Violence Against Women Coalition, The Fawcett Society and Women’s Aid among others.
The actor and comedian Meera Syal, the patron of London Black Women’s Project says:
"London Black Women's Project quite literally saves the lives of women and girls, and supports them to regain safety and a sense of self. It is desperately important work that they have been doing for 32 years. Such deep knowledge and expertise is to be treasured and it would be a travesty for Newham to deliberately force its closure. I am proud to be the patron of London Black Women's Project and want to add my voice in calling for the full reinstatement of their funding."
A service user of the refuge says:
“If London Black Women's Project was to be closed down, it would be devastating for the women and children who would need the same support that I needed when I was at the refuge. This refuge saved my life.”
Rena Sodhi, the Director of London Black Women’s Project says:
“In the last year London Black Women’s Project has supported over 170 women and children through the refuge service and also provided counselling, legal advice and advocacy support to over 600 women and girls.
“We cannot stand by while our vital, life-saving services, which have been built by and for BME women are decimated and destroyed by funding decisions such as this one. Council leaders and others need to understand that there is a very big difference between funding large non-specialist organisations with no base in the borough to supporting specialist smaller local charities that understand the specific cultural and intersectional needs of the women we work with. Safe refuges that are geared to the needs of the women who use them is not a luxury, it’s a must have.”