Women's centre jobs could go as cuts bite

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PENDING cuts could mean dozens of job losses at Calderdale's women's centre.

Three quarters of the 54 workers for WomenCentre, based at Silver Street in Halifax, have been given letters warning they are at risk of redundancy or cuts in their hours.

The move comes because of uncertainty about how much funding the centre, which works with hundreds of women in Calderdale and Kirklees including domestic violence victims, will receive from April.

Angela Everson, joint chief executive of the centre, said they hope to maintain as many posts as possible.

She added the centre is not closing but may be forced to cut some of its services.

"Like all other organisations at the present time, WomenCentre is affected by the spending cuts," she said.

"WomenCentre has over 35 different funding streams some local, some regional and some national and at the present time we have uncertainties about which funding sources will be maintained beyond April 1, 2011. We do know that some of our funding is going to continue but we await other decisions from local, national funders and wider grant making trusts and bodies.

"The board of WomenCentre and the senior management team are also taking every opportunity to submit other funding bids to maintain services and we are also working to develop the social enterprise arm of our organisation.

"As a result of these uncertainties we have been required by employment law, as a responsible employer, to issue those staff affected with an 'at risk of redundancy or reduced hours letter'.We want wherever possible to avoid job losses because we have the most dedicated group of staff working with us who provide the highest quality services.

"We hope to maintain as many of our current services as possible from April 1, 2011 and will continue to work with all our current funders and partners.

"WomenCentre is not closing down but like many other organisations both in the statutory and voluntary sector we may have no other choice than to reduce some services, but as yet we do not know which ones.

"WomenCentre is a membership organisation and anyone wishing to support our work either by joining as a member or by making a donation can do so, by either contacting us directly on 01422 386500 or logging on to our website at www.womencentre.org.uk."

The centre, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, offers a wide range of services including supporting victims of domestic violence, reaching out to female offenders, offering a teenage pregnancy advice group and training to improve women's employability.

One woman who has used the centre said: "It a great shame because the staff are so dedicated and provide such a valuable service all around the area."

* Have you benefited from WomenCentre services? Email us: yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk