Weymouth's closed women's refuge is transformed

An axed women's refuge has reopened as a new facility to help domestic abuse victims gain independence.

The refuge, in Weymouth, had provided emergency shelter for more than 1,000 women and their children but shut in 2009.

It has now been converted into five flats, known as The Hamlet, which will be used as "move-on accommodation" by West Dorset Women's Refuge

Refuge manager, Pauline Collier, said it was "hugely beneficial" to victims.

'Daily support'

Ms Collier said the flats, which were created by Magna Housing Association, would be used by women and children who had already spent time at West Dorset Women's Refuge, which offers 24-hour support.

"The idea is we'll move them down to The Hamlet, we will still provide support on a daily basis but more limited, so they will be partially independent before moving on to their permanent homes," she said.

Gill Taylor, from Friends of The Hamlet, has campaigned for four years for the building to be re-used for victims of domestic abuse and violence.

She said she was "delighted" the plans had now been made a reality.

The refuge was closed because the county council, which funded the service, concluded a mobile outreach team - to help both male and female victims of domestic abuse - could replace the centre's work.

The Dorset Supporting People Commissioning Group, which is made up of agencies across the county, said research had shown an outreach team was "more effective" overall.

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