A Scarborough charity which started with three women in an attic room now helps sexual assault victims across the country as it celebrates its 10th anniversary year.
To mark the milestone HOPE has relaunched its facilities in Northway, restructuring and refurbishing the centre to cope with recent increases in demand.
The charity, which runs national help lines for adults and children, supports men and women who have been raped or sexually abused.
Through referrals from social services, doctors, police and self referrals, HOPE provides support through counselling, group work, drop-in facilities and social activities.
The facilities on offer have recently undergone a makeover thanks to the efforts of staff and volunteers at HOPE.
A new drop-in room has been kitted out with comfy chairs, a fish tank, dining facilities and library, with a games rooms and arts room neighbouring private consultation rooms and a newly fitted kitchen.
Andrea Miller, a director at HOPE, said: “Because we have grown so much as a charity in recent years we have had to redesign our services, and bring in more structure, while putting more support in place, especially one-to-one support.
“The relaunched facilities are designed to offer a complete package of privacy and comfort for survivors and also for their families. They can sit here, read a book, dine here, socialise or just have quiet time alone.”
The new facilities were officially opened by mayor Cllr Helen Mallory, who was shown the refurbished centre and new kitchen, fitted by volunteers and funded by the Co-op.
The relaunch of the services has resulted in extra space available for Safety Net – a branch of HOPE which works with young people aged 14 to 20.
HOPE’s 10th year has seen one of its busiest yet with a influx of men and women coming forward in light of public figures who have been exposed for committing sexual offences.
Pauline Carruthers, founder of HOPE, said: “It has given people the confidence to come forward. it is great because the emotional that people have endured for years can finally be dealt with.
“It is phenomenal how HOPE has grown over the past decade. I started it as a group with three ladies in an attic room. We have gone from there to where we are now with 14 staff, most of which are part time, and 53 volunteers who work across a range of different areas.
“We are hoping in our anniversary year to recruit more support workers, liaison workers, and help line workers.”
l To see a video of the new facilities at HOPE visit www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk