New refuge a safe haven for women

Date published: 04 April 2013

A new Oldham centre will help to transform the lives of vulnerable local women.

The Oldham Women’s Centre will tackle drug and alcohol addiction, prevent offending and support victims of domestic violence.

The town-centre hub was launched yesterday by Greater Manchester Probation Trust (GMPT), Oldham Council and other groups, with the help of lottery funding.

The Chaucer Street centre will provide a positive and effective “alternative to prison” for those in trouble with the law or on the verge of offending.

Some of the service’s volunteers and employees have turned their own lives round after being mixed up in crime and are now passing on their experience to others.

One GMPT employee, Debbie, believes she wouldn’t be alive without the intervention of the probation and prison services.

“To get the chance to help other people who may have been in my position is a fantastic opportunity.”

Women will be able to get support to improve their health, increase their skills and improve their self-confidence. Help from domestic violence groups will also be available.

Kelly Dale, a manager, said: “My experience in probation has shown me that having a safe, comfortable place where women can meet and get help can have a dramatic effect. I’m a passionate supporter of services like this — they help people to better their lives, gain independence and increase their self-confidence.

“Women take that back to their homes and the positive impact that then has on their wider family cannot be underestimated.”

Nicola Burke, a co-ordinator at the Oldham Drug and Alcohol Team, said: “This is a pilot — but it is a fantastic opportunity to get lots of services under one roof.”

The centre opens on Wednesdays (9am-7pm) and Fridays (9am-5pm). Find out more on 07711-036 523.