A VOLUNTARY women’s support organisation that has helped thousands of Teesside women over the last 32 years, is calling for support after seeing rising demand for its services post-lockdown whilst being hit hard financially over the last 14 months.

The Tees Valley Women’s Centre (TVWC) is calling for help to cover short-term running costs not met by most funding streams given it has been forced to reduce its 34 activity courses down to just three per week in order to maintain a safe environment for its users.

This has been felt massively by those using its services, especially during lockdown when volunteers were able to provide only outreach and online support, still very much needed by local women suffering from depression, loneliness, mental health, or needing a outlet to discuss or overcome personal issues.

The charity recently received a £5,000 by The Bernicia Foundation, a charitable trust set up by Bernicia housing association to provide North East community projects, charities and individuals looking to achieve personal goals with funding.

READ MORE: ‘Whole of England should be covered by metro mayors’ – Ben Houchen

Run by women for women. the volunteer-led, grass roots venture in South Bank is one of the longest-serving charities in the area, meeting the needs of the community and those it serves. As well as being a lifeline to many facing personal challenges including mental health issues, isolation, addition, bullying and abuse, there are also a large number of women who make use of the much-valued childcare facilities in order to improve their life and job prospects, gain new work and social skills, or take advantage of the creche to eliminate barriers to employment.

Kathy Lloyd, CEO of TVWC, said: “Centres like ours are hugely relied upon for many different reasons, providing services which can literally change a person’s life, maintain their positivity, hope and optimism, and help them on the road to recovery or a new career. The lockdown has been extremely hard for everyone, but to have this outlet, in essence, removed from the women’s daily routine and lifestyle, has been devastating.

“We’re working in arguably one of the most deprived areas of Teesside and the North East, so we need to do all we can to help these women re-ignite and prosper. Many are facing huge difficulties and relying heavily on us, so we can’t let them down.

“As we come out of the pandemic, we’re seeing a drastic rise in the number of women now looking to re-educate themselves, calling us constantly to come back into the Centre to retrain, and this is fantastic as we could help break the cycle of deprivation and low income for many families, as well as change old-fashioned attitudes towards women.”

One Teesside women who has used the services of the Tees Valley Women’s Centre for the last five years is Katie Coates, 28, who became a mother to her now ten-year-old child, Louie, when studying at college aged 17.

Now a Safeguarding Lead at a local secondary school, she describes the Centre as having ‘set her up for life, not knowing where she would be now without their help’.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Teesside Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054