HUNDREDS of people from across the city met in Leeds to launch a brand new women’s network that has already been awarded a £2m fund.
More than 300 people attended the launch of Women’s Lives Leeds (WLL), which aims to support and protect vulnerable women and girls.
The WLL partnership involves 12 local organisations and was launched with a ceremony at the Civic Hall, which included performances from Indian dancers, singers and performance poets.
Kate Bratt-Farrar, chief executive at Leeds Women’s Aid, which is leading on the initiative, said: “The reaction was great – people are so supportive and want to get involved and make sure that it works.”
The £2m fund from the Big Lottery will go towards setting up the new network, which includes groups tackling issues such as domestic violence, mental health, sexual health, sex work, trafficking, child sexual exploitation and ethnic minority groups.
The consortium aims to reach 1,657 women and girls at risk within the first year.
Council leaders, NHS staff and key representatives from the 12 organisations involved attended the event yesterday.
Kate added: “The highlight for me was the message that we are trying to send – that we want to make a difference for women and girls in Leeds.
“Now is really the time to make a change like this.”
It is hoped that the project will enable women and girls to lead healthier, safer and more fulfilled lives.
Service users will also get the chance to influence the development, delivery and design of the service across the city.
Speaking previously, councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “I am delighted that women’s services in Leeds have attracted the Big Lottery to invest in these services.”
Work will now start on recruiting a project manager and a team of staff for WLL.