A REFUGE for women and children escaping domestic abuse has passed the halfway point of its fundraiser.

The Fortalice for Survivors campaign was launched on April 21 to raise £25,000, the first chunk of a £200,000 shortfall seen by the charity.

Almost £15,000 has been raised to support the vital work being done to protect local people from abuse in their homes.

Chief executive Gill Smallwood said: “The response from the local community has been brilliant in helping us raise funds for Fortalice.

“We can already see an increase in people needing our services and the money people have donated will help us to provide much-needed help for victims of domestic abuse.

“The sense of community has been amazing, people have pulled together to help in any way they can. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all who have been able to help us.”

Due to lockdown, the UK is seeing a dramatic rise in domestic violence cases as people are trapped with their abusers.

As demand rises, the charity is seeing a drop in donations, and vital fundraisers cancelled.

Members of the community have stepped up to raise money, with Cllr Hilary Fairclough’s bright bows for the charity raising around £6,000.

A Horwich care home raised over £1,000 by completing a marathon on a treadmill.

Hazelbrook Christian Nursing Home held the 26.2 mile run in the foyer, urging as many people as possible to donate.

Staff took it in turns to run or walk part of the distance, with off-duty workers coming in to do their bit.

Elsewhere, the Bank pub in Westhoughton has been hosting online quizzes, asking participants to donate to Fortalice, and local lad David Openshaw played games for 24 hours to raise £260.

Breightmet grandmother Monica Coop, 90, walked 26 laps of her home’s outdoor space over a weekend before making a donation to the domestic abuse charity.

Mrs Coop was encouraged to walk the laps by her daughter, Marie Roe, who suggested she make 26 trips around the garden while the rest of the family completed the 2.6 challenge.

Mrs Roe and her husband Martin also donated to Fortalice after doing their part of the challenge.

Fortalice, which is French for fortress or place of safety, needs £1.3m a year to run its refuge, outreach, and children and young person’s services.

The charity relies on public donations to help provide for the families and children it supports in the 22-apartment refuge, Lewis House.

In the last 12 months, the refuge gave 79 women and 124 children a place to escape to.

Visit justgiving.com/campaign/Fortaliceforsurvivors or the charity’s website, fortalice.org.uk to donate.