Firstly we’d like to say a big thank you to our friends, followers and supporters from 2023! Wishing you all a joyous time over the Christmas break whether you’re celebrating or taking some time for rest and relaxation.

In 2023 we supported 3742 individuals, an 11% increase from the previous year. Our refuge referrals increased by 50% since 2022. We were awarded the Investing In Children accreditation and received amazing feedback from both the evaluator and young people that we work with. The Wish Centre also received the Investors in People accreditation.

‘Refuge’ short film premiere

The film, featuring some of our staff and filmed at our old offices was premiered at Manchester Film Festival. Created by Jack Hartley at Zomdic Films, it is a powerful insight into a day in the life of a refuge support worker. Watch here:

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Refuge activities

Over the year our refuge staff have created a welcoming and friendly environment for fleeing families. They celebrated the Kings Coronation with cake decorating, crown making and decorations. They had a summer fun day with an ice-cream van and bouncy castle. They also took trips out to Blackpool Zoo and Smithills Farm over the summer which the children really enjoyed. 

If you're organisation would like to discuss sponsoring a trip, please email

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Garden Makeover

In June, Haydock Finance completed a refuge garden makeover for us, completely transforming the rarely used space into a haven! Firstly flattening the bumps so the children can play on the grass, installing a Wendy house, jet-washing, planting beautiful flowers, building new garden furniture, a BBQ area, chill out area and outdoor games! We’d like to say another Thank you to Haydock for their hard work on this, the families and staff at refuge were over the moon.

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Charity Shop Launch

At the start of October we opened our first charity shop in Little Harwood, Blackburn. After months of preparation the shop launched with full rails of men’s, women’s and children’s clothes, toys, books and bric-a-brac. The shop is a bright and colourful space with a kids reading corner.

The shop is currently recruiting volunteers, find out more here:

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IRISi (Identification & Referral to Improve Safety)

The IRISi project began this year across Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire & Blackpool. This project sees Advocate Educators from The Wish Centre, Fylde Coast Women’s Aid and Lancashire Victim Services in GP surgeries throughout the area. The research based training provided to GPs, clinical staff, reception and administration staff to spot the signs of domestic abuse in their patients and refer to appropriate services for support and safety planning.  The Advocate Educators also provide expert consultancy services to surgeries in the field of domestic & sexual violence and abuse.

Together with Clinical Leads from the Integrated Care Board we have trained over 300 members of staff from practices across the region so far with big plans for 2024! The feedback from surgeries has been extremely positive with many GPs stating that they now feel confident enough to raise the question of domestic abuse with their patients when they feel it necessary. Given 80% of women in a violent relationship seek help from health services and these are often a woman’s first, or only, point of contact (Department of Health) placing domestic abuse services in GP surgeries aims to reach those in need earlier therefore preventing more long-term harm.

Open Doors

In 2023 we launched Open Doors, a specialist IDVA service for over 55's. Domestic Abuse can happen to anyone at any age, please get in touch if you or someone you know would benefit from the service.

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In August we held our first fundraising event! The Mayor of Blackburn attended and opened our Summer fair in Darwen. We had craft stalls, games, face painting, refreshments and more. It was a lot of fun and it was lovely to meet more of the local Darwen community.

In December we held our Fizz & Fashion show fundraiser in Blackburn Cathedral Crypt. It was a great evening in a stunning setting. Shopping and prosecco… what’s not to love!

Coming up! March next year will bring our first charity ball and we’ve pulled out all the stops! Held at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel, attendants will enjoy a delicious three course meal and be entertained all night long. Book Tickets

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We're excited to see what 2024 will bring!

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