http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/c ... -28752266/
Recommend A CHARITY in Coventry that helps women caught up in prostitution escape the sex trade is celebrating after being given £342,551 lottery cash.
The team behind Kairos Women Working Together (KWWT), based in the St Peters Centre, Charles Street, Hillfields, only had funding to work in the city until October.
But the huge grant means that not only will they be able to continue for three years they will also be able to expand.
The charity’s project manager Lucia Gattuso, 29, said the award was a “huge moment” for the charity, which helps women get out of prostitution and reintegrate with society.
She said: “We’re just very excited.
“In a climate where it is so hard to raise money this has blown us all away.
“It’s a lifeline to us and it’s a lifeline to the woman who count on us and use our services.
“We can expand now too. We’re looking to recruit two part-time members of staff and we’re looking to broaden our horizons to work with other vulnerable women.”
The Hillfields charity is currently working with 60 Coventry women caught up in prostitution.
They offer a wide variety of services, from evening drop in sessions and befriending to classes that help women build up their IT skills and confidence.
And while it can take years for some women to escape prostitution the charity has enjoyed some real success stories.
Lucia said: “Just recently we’ve had one woman working towards getting on an Open University course.
“She’s got a place, and that’s just one success story.
"There have been a number of women who have got married, had families, gone to university and gone on to get work.
“We had the funding to continue this work, which started in Coventry in 1999, until October.
“We didn’t know what would happen then. That’s how serious the funding situation is.
“The message we want to get out is that women caught up in this are marginalised and vulnerable.
“What they need is support, they don’t need victimisation.
“We try and remind people that these women are someone’s mother, someone’s daughter or someone’s sister. That is something that often gets forgotten.”
The Big Lottery Fund has donated nearly £3 million to charities in the West Midlands recently.
Megan Baker House, a charity that operates in Warwickshire, was also given £362,029 to provide education to people in rural areas with movement difficulties.
For more information about KWWT go to www.kairoswwt.org