A rape crisis centre say they are in a “crisis situation” as they face becoming homeless by the end of next year.
Rape Crisis North East (RCNE) said it comes at a time when demand for their services has reached a high and their ability to fundraise has collapsed because of Covid-19.
Manager Grace McArdle said they were told this year “the very devastating news” that their lease at the Great Northern Distillery building in Dundalk would come to an end in December 2020.
She said they were grateful that the lease was extended for an additional year until December 2021 to give RCNE time to source appropriate premises.
Understandably, we are very concerned of the serious risk that this may have on our service if premises are not found on time,” Ms McArdle said.
“We are now facing a crisis situation at a time when we are at our busiest, particularly in terms of the increased number of clients attending the centre, the increased number of young people availing of our services, the increased number of helpline contacts, the ever increasing number of clients on our waiting list, the increased number of staff employed by the centre and the many volunteers who give their time so generously to our service.”
As well as supporting adults, the RCNE initiated, in 2019, a specialised counselling service for young people from the age of 12.
Publishing their 2019 annual report, she said financial woes compounded the problem: “We are particularly concerned as to the serious impact Covid-19 is currently having on our service. All fundraising activities have been suspended."
She added: “This loss of income will have a significant impact on RCNE finances resulting in us accumulating a large deficit going forward into 2021. We urgently need financial support.”
*RCNE Helpline: 1800 212 122; National Helpline: 1800 77 88 88