A REFUGE for Solihull women and children has celebrated its 35th anniversary.
Council Cabinet Members, city officers and local voluntary organisations came together to mark 35 years of The Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA) supporting women, young people and children affected by domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.
Local MPs Caroline Spelman and Julian Knight joined Solihull Mayor, Coun Glenis Slater, and Council chief executive, Nick Page, at the celebration held at Solihull’s Ramada hotel.
Before the establishment of the BSWA in the 1970, there was no provision for local women and children escaping domestic violence.
Creating a squat in an empty building and making the space available to women fleeing abuse, a group of local women formed the unofficial refuge that later became BSWA.
Now one of the leading providers of service for women and children in the West Midlands, the charity help those affected by abuse in all its forms, be it domestic violence, sexual violence, child sexual abuse, honour based violence, female genital mutilation, gang association, forced marriage or abuse in young people’s relationships.
Funded partly by the work of its Shirley, Boldmere and Northfield charity shops, BSWA also provides specialist training to professionals around violence against women and children to professionals and delivers awareness raising work around positive relationships in schools and other education settings.
Speaking at the event, BSWA chief executive, Maureen Connolly said: “BSWA is extremely proud to be marking 35 years of working to keep local women and children and young people safe across Birmingham and Solihull.
“This year we will celebrate all that BSWA and the women and children we have worked with have achieved, but it is also a time to think about how far there is still to go to end violence against women and children.”