A project that works with women who suffer domestic abuse has been thrown a lifeline by Worcester City Council.

The Dawn Project, which helps women to escape violent or abusive relationships and provides both emotional and practical support, was in danger of having to close until councillors on the council’s Policy and resources Committee voted to make a grant of £20,000.

They were deciding what to do with a large surplus in the authority’s funds left over from last year’s budget, and agreed to Councillor Lynn Denham’s suggestion to help the project run by the Worcester Community Trust.

Chief Executive of the trust, Helen Scarrett said the money would allow the project to continue.

She said: “This is an absolute life-line for us. We were previously funded by the Police and Crime commissioner, but that off ice is looking to fund region-wide projects and we just work in Worcester, so we were looking at having to close it.”

Ms Scarrett added: “The project has been running for just over five years and it’s the only one here to provide one-to-one support to women who are dealing with domestic abuse. In the last year we supported more than 100 women to get out of abusive relationships, so we’re very happy this money has been approved. It makes a huge difference.”

A young woman faced losing her children if she stayed with her partner - and she says she has The Dawn Project to thank for helping her get away.

The mother of two young children, who asked to stay anonymous had been assaulted by her male partner,while she was pregnant, and often had to fear his violent rages. She said: “I didn’t know what I could do. Jo fromthe project has been brilliant. I call her my key worker - she’s come with me to solicitors and helped me be rehoused. It’s been a very difficult time, we were homeless for months, but we’ve turned it around.

“I wouldn’t have known where to go or what to do without the project - I might have gone back to my partner and my children might have been taken away.”

As the committee discussed the grant to the Dawn Project, Councillor Chris Mitchell suggested that some of the council’s money be made available to deal with domestic abuse against men.

He said: “About a third of domestic violence is against men, and I think it would be equitable to also provide money for that.”

Councillors agreed to spend £10,000 on helping to combat domestic abuse and violence against men. Officers at the Guildhall will identify a suitable project or group that can make best use of the money.

The Dawn Projects (which stands for Domestic Abuse Working Network) is based at the Tolly Community Hub in Rowan Avenue in Worcester.

It offers women who are suffering abuse, coercive control or violence advice with legal issues, housing, benefits and financial issues as well as psychological support and safety planning.

Anyone who needs can contact the project on 07713 200699 or email dawn@worcestercommunitytrust.org.uk.