A NEW charity to tackle domestic abuse in four neighbouring communities has been set up by women who want to reach out to families in crisis.

Wishes 4 Women was set up by a group of women in West Cornforth who took part in a Freedom programme to increase their awareness of the issue.

Having learnt more about the first signs of domestic violence, why it happens and the impact it can have, the group asked for more information about where people could turn for help.

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The Cornforth Partnership, which ran the original programme, created an accredited ten-week Hearts and Mind course to explore the aftermath of domestic abuse, what support is available and how they can help victims.

Wishes 4 Women was established to help people affected by domestic abuse in West Cornforth, Ferryhill, Chilton and Bishop Middleham and ensure they do not suffer in silence.

Anne Currie, Freedom programme facilitator and secretary of the group, said: “After that first programme the women were saying they wanted to know more and find out how to help other people.

“Wishes 4 Women isn’t just about women, but about kids and men too, anyone who is or has been affected by domestic violence.

“It aims to help families recognise domestic abuse and move on from it, so they are no longer victims but survivors.

“We hope to help as many people as we can, if you don’t know what help is out there it can be frightening, heartbreaking and frustrating but we want people to know we are here to listen and to help.”

The group has secured funding - £2,610 from the 4 Together Partnership, £200 from Durham County Councillor for Bishop Middleham and Cornforth Mick Simpson, a £500 Community Chest Grant and £50 from Cornforth Parish Council- towards running costs and to run family activities.

It is ran from Cornforth House, on West Cornforth High Street, which people can visit and there is a phone text service – on 07856088927 - offering confidential advice.

This runs alongside a free text helpline called ASK - on 80800 - for young people.

The group held a free family fun day and an over 18s disco in the village at the weekend to thank supporters and raise awareness of its work.