A RAPE and sexual assault victims’ charity is celebrating after securing a new three-year funding deal with the Ministry of Justice.
The Burton Sexual Assault and Rape Advice Centre (SARAC) signed the deal after months of uncertainty about its future.
Now the axe hanging over the service has been lifted, SARAC chairman Margaret Fletcher said: “We are very pleased about this new funding. It has helped us to survive really.
“We were very near a point where we thought we would have to think about closing.” The new Government contract means SARACwill have a guaranteed income for the next three years.
The cash will come from the Ministry of Justice’s rape support fund and witness and victim fund.
The money will enable the charity — which has just two paid members of staff and relies on a team of trained volunteers — to continue its current services and expand in some areas.
The organisation offers counselling services to victims of sex crimes and domestic abuse.
Mrs Fletcher said: “SARAC is not a charity that can rely on fluffy animals and smiling children to raise money.
“By its very nature, our clients often want to keep everything very secret.
“This new deal, however, has given us a real boost.” The Burton-based charity is also supported by East Staffordshire Borough Council and Burton Albion Football Club.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths said he was a long-standing supporter of the charity.
He said: “It is very difficult for an organisation like SARAC to raise money through collections and donations like many charities do, because of the difficult nature of the work they do.
“However, SARAC and its volunteers do an incredible job in supporting people through the most difficult times in their lives. We are very lucky to have them in Burton and I am delighted the Government has secured its future with this new funding.”