Bristiol Rape Victims Counselling Centre Faces The Axe

A counselling service in Kingswood for victims of rape and sexual abuse could be forced to fold by a funding crisis.

Kinergy is the only service of its kind in Bristol and South Gloucestershire and has 50 people on its waiting list seeking help.

But the group says it has reached a “crunch point” after missing out on funding from the Home Office, South Gloucestershire Council and several charitable trusts.

It has enough cash to struggle on until the end of March but needs to find £15,000 to keep going longer.

Barry Trahar, Kinergy’s chairman, said: “We missed out on Home Office funding which covered some of our fixed running costs.

“The last money from South Gloucestershire Council came a few years ago but we’ve struggled on and managed to keep things running. The money we thought we would receive from charitable trusts hasn’t come in. The way it is going, we will have to suspend services from November and we could eventually fold.”

Kinergy receives referrals from the NHS, GPs, social services, the police and other counselling services but receives little state funding.

Mr Trahar said: “It’s a service that isn’t available anywhere else and we have a waiting list of between six months and eight months at the moment with about 50 people on it.

“We’ve currently got funding applications in with 35 charitable trusts. It’s got to the point where we are waiting by the door for the post to come through the letterbox.

“But its up to them as to whether we need this money.”

The Britannia Road-based group is run by seven volunteer counsellors and two part-time paid staff. In July, the Evening Post reported that it had been forced to scale down after missing out on Home Office funding.

Kinergy, which has been running for 11 years, failed to win a grant from the Ministry of Justice’s Victim Fund for 2007/8. In the past two years, it had been awarded grants of £35,000 and £30,000 from the fund.

Missing out on the cash has led to five counsellors being laid off and opening hours being reduced.

Mr Trahar says that if Kinergy closes, victims of sexual abuse will have nowhere else to go.

He said: “With a lot of our clients, the trauma happened earlier in their lives.

“In adulthood it affects them and they need support to help them deal with what happened.

“Some of them are dealing with drug abuse as a consequence.

“They might have social problems or be unemployed. We help them change their frame of mind, come to terms with what’s happened and get back out into the community.

“We work with our people for 12 months and explain to them what happened wasn’t their fault.”

To support Kinergy, cheques can be sent to 41 Britannia Road, Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, BS15 2BN.