Camden women’s centre’s £200,000 appeal for its new home            

By Meyrem Hussein, Camden Gazette, 3 November 2010

A HISTORIC women’s centre is trying to raise more than £200,000 to refurbish its planned new home.

Crossroads Women’s Centre, which held a fundraising garage sale on Saturday, is moving from its premises in Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, to a 19th century doll factory in nearby Wolsey Mews.

While the centre has raised enough funds to buy the Wolsey Mews building – which was being used as a carpenter’s workshop – it still needs cash to refurbish it, install solar panels and make it wheelchair accessible.

Solveig Francis of Crossroads Women’s Centre, said: “While in recent decades people have been encouraged to accumulate personal wealth, we are gratified that a number of volunteers preferred to donate or lend from their modest inheritance or savings to help us buy this beautiful building.

“We know money is very tight now, but we urge anyone who supports the work at the centre to contribute what they can to help make the new Crossroads an accessible and green resource for the whole community.”

Crossroads Women’s Centre, which was founded as a squat in Euston in 1975, is now home to campaign groups such as Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Legal Action for Women, the English Collective of Prostitutes and Women Against Rape – and they have all said the new building is essential for their work.

A spokeswoman for Black Women’s Rape Action Project said: “So many ‘strangers in a strange land’ come to us looking for asylum from rape, and we’re so squeezed for space. It’s a dream come true.”

A spokeswoman for Legal Action for Women added: “The new building is needed more than ever as cuts most affect those of us with least resources and social power.”

While a spokeswoman for Women Against Rape said: “Rape survivors feel safe at the centre. But we desperately need more private space to meet with traumatised victims and as a group, and more phone lines and computer terminals for volunteer sessions.”