Welsh domestic abuse charity Thrive Women’s Aid receives £2.7m game changing social investment loan

Thrive Women’s Aid, a charity that has supported women and their children affected by domestic abuse in Neath Port Talbot for 42 years, has received a social investment loan of £2.7 million from Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) to modernise and transform its accommodation and support services.

The loan from SASC’s Social and Sustainable Housing fund (SASH) will enable the charity to purchase homes for the first time, give them greater control over the quality of the accommodation, provide more stability for the families it supports, and have assets that will provide the organisation with greater financial security.

Funds will be used to purchase 20 properties in the Neath Port Talbot region, which will serve as safe move-on accommodation, where support services can also be delivered to help women and children rebuild their lives.

The charity’s accommodation will increase from 11 units, which are currently rented (six refuge units and five move-on units) to 31 units which will help them meet increased demand and better support victims of domestic abuse.

Neath Port Talbot has high levels of deprivation, poverty and disadvantage. Fourteen areas in the county borough are in the top 10% of the most deprived communities in Wales[i] and demand for the charity’s services increased during the pandemic, with a 42% increase in referrals into its adult services and remains high.

The Office for National Statistics[ii] shows that 5.7% of adults aged 16 to 59 years in England and Wales, experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022. On that basis, it is likely there could be around 6,700 cases a year in the Neath Port Talbot area[iii] and this figure is likely to be grossly underestimated due to reluctance and barriers victims face when reporting domestic abuse to the police.

Lucy Reynolds CEO at Thrive Women’s Aid said, “One of our four strategic priorities over the next five years is to modernise, innovate and transform our accommodation support services for individuals and families fleeing domestic abuse. This includes increasing the number of properties available for those with varying needs and risk levels.

“Owning properties gives us more control and allows us to bring support services together under one roof in a holistic way. Like the rest of the UK, Neath Port Talbot has a housing crisis, and it can be difficult for women to access housing. We provide move-on accommodation with support to enable them to re-build their lives after experiencing domestic abuse and regain their independence in safe communities.”

Ben Rick, Co-Founder and CEO of SASC said, “We are pleased to be making our first investment from our SASH fund in a Welsh charity.  Thrive is a well-run organisation with a great vision and strong community links. This loan promises to be real game changer for them – putting them in control and enabling them to transform their accommodation and services.”

This investment makes Thrive Women’s Aid the 16th organisation to receive funding from SASH.

As of September 2022, SASH was fully committed, having allocated £64.5m of invested capital to charities across the UK. The successor fund, SASH II, launches this autumn, in order to provide a continuity of funding to frontline providers.

The fund will support charitable organisations that deliver a combination of support and housing move from renting existing housing stock to owning it. SASH II is open for fundraising and targeting £125m.

For more information on Thrive Women’s Aid visit: www.thrivewomensaid.org.uk/

For more information on SASC visit: www.socialandsustainable.com

[i] https://thrivewomensaid.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Thrive-Strategic-Plan-2021-2026.pdf

[ii] https://blog.ons.gov.uk/2022/07/21/a-better-understanding-of-the-scale-of-domestic-abuse-during-the-pandemic/

[iii] https://thrivewomensaid.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Thrive-Strategic-Plan-2021-2026.pdf