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New refuge for young women opens in Gravesend

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 May 2019

Opening the new refuge - trustee Steve Fox, Cllr. David Hurley, Andrea Kilvington the chief executive, and chair of the trustees Emma Siers

Opening the new refuge - trustee Steve Fox, Cllr. David Hurley, Andrea Kilvington the chief executive, and chair of the trustees Emma Siers

Archant

A refuge for young women has opened in Gravesend thanks to a major grant.

Run by charity Choices, it offers safe and secure accommodation for homeless and vulnerable young women aged 18 to 25.

Choices already owns and manages another hostel nearby, housing seven homeless young people of similar age.

Mayor of Gravesham Cllr David Hurley performed the official opening of the new premises to provide supported accommodation for a year for eight young women at a time.

Although it is particularly active in Gravesham and Dartford due to its original foundations as North Kent Women's Aid, the charity has grown and developed, providing advice, support, training, consultancy and partnership working and now administers some 17 widely varied projects across West Kent and Medway.

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It has successfully bid for substantial funds from national and local grant makers, including a recent £48,000 grant from Nationwide Building Society towards administering the new hostel.

The charity changed its name to Choices, providing supportive services to men, women and young people who are affected by domestic abuse and to raise awareness of the issues surrounding those whose lives are impacted by it.

Over the years it has become a creator of innovative projects and a learning organisation capable of meeting ever-changing demands within the sector.

A spokesman said while each occupant of the new hostel will share kitchen and dining facilities, a small conservatory and pleasant garden, they will also have their own well-appointed room with bed, comfortable chair, fitted wardrobe, storage units and small television.

During their stay they will be offered education, taught life skills, budgeting, preparation for work and support in bidding to local authorities for their own place to live.

Emma Siers, chairwoman of the board of trustees, said: "This hostel will provide safe and secure accommodation for vulnerable young women who need help to turn their lives around so that they are ready to move on to their own sustainable accommodation.

"In supporting the most vulnerable, we believe that helping people into homes of their own strengthens communities and makes a difference in local areas."

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