Bristol

South Gloucestershire women's refuge to close after 43 years

Sarah Telford, chief executive of Survive
Image caption Sarah Telford, chief executive of Survive, said the charity was "absolutely devastated" by the council's decision

One of the first refuges in the west of England for women escaping domestic violence is to close after 43 years.

Survive, which runs it, was funded by South Gloucestershire Council but has lost the contract to another charity.

The charity said the refuge had been "saving lives since 1974" and it was "absolutely devastated".

South Gloucestershire Council said victims and their families would still get the "help and support they need" during the transition period.

Survive also provides two other refuges in South Gloucestershire, a telephone support line and outreach work for domestic abuse victims.

'Fearful of transition'

Sarah Telford, chief executive of the charity, said it was an "incredibly unsettling and anxious time" for the women and children in refuge.

"We're absolutely devastated. This building was set up by our founder Brenda Bishop in the 1970s," she said.

"My worry over the next few weeks is people will become more unsettled."

In a statement the authority, said the contract had been "re-commissioned" following a re-tendering process.

"We would like to reassure victims and their families that they will continue to receive the help and support they need from the existing service during this transition period.

"The charity Next Link has been awarded the new contract."

A spokeswoman for Next Link, said it would also like to "reassure the public and victims that the service will continue" when it takes over at the beginning of July.

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