Another Irish Charity Faces Funding Crisis

Another Irish charity involved in the delivery of crucial frontline services to vulnerable people has announced that it is facing a serious financial crisis following recent cuts in government funding and a drop in fundraising income.

Women's Aid is a voluntary organisation which provides support and information to women and their children who are being physically, emotionally and sexually abused in their own homes. One of the key services that the organisation provides is a freephone helpline that often serves as a lifeline to abused women and children. On average, the cost of facilitating these free phonecalls is 5 euros for about 20 minutes. Women's Aid took 12,000 calls in 2007 alone, and yet this service is now under threat due to financial constraints.

The charity also provides one-to-one support, outreach services, court accompaniment, advocacy work and other back-up support for women. Women's Aid also provide training for health professionals, emergency staff and gardai. The overall cost of running the charity is 1.8 million euros. However, the combination of funding cuts and a drop in public donations has now put these services in crisis, according to Women's Aid director, Margaret Martin.

An example of the drop-off in fundraising income can be found in the recent major fundraising event, involving a trip to the Sinai Desert, which had to be cancelled due to an insufficient number of participants. "It is a huge, ongoing struggle," said Ms Martin. "Government funding is shrinking and our funding from donors is withering on the vine."

To address this crisis, Women's Aid have now written to more than 1,000 regular donors, appealing for help in making up the anticipated shortfall of 65,000 euros in funding for the freephone helpline alone. "We know how important our helpline is," said Ms Martin, "and we must keep it operating."

The Women's Aid freephone helpline number is 1800 341 900.

Visit the Women's Aid website: http://www.womensaid.ie/