A MILESTONE has been reached in the creation of a centre for women in Whitehaven.

Phase One of the WOW (Women Out West) centre, has now been completed.

The centre, at Haig Enterprise Park, Kells, has facilities including interview suites, a laundry room, social areas and private one-to-one spaces.

The county's police commissioner Peter McCall will visit the facility on Wednesday.

The centre is designed to help women in all kinds of circumstances, from victims of domestic violence, to those affected by separation or divorce, women living in poverty or on low incomes, to those who want to set up their own business.

It aims to support 200 women a year and has been funded with a £170,000 grant from The Ministry of Justice.

Rachel Holliday, project lead at the WOW centre said: “We are so grateful to the police and crime commissioner for funding the WOW centre initially.

"It helped us secure the £170K capital grant from the Ministry of Justice to build our wonderful Women out West Centre. So many people have told me how desperately needed this centre is in West Cumbria, I’m excited to be part of it."

Mr McCall said: “In recent years, Barrow and Carlisle Women Centres have become well established, very well attended and have been delivering critical services to help keep vulnerable women in our county safe, building their confidence and resilience.

"There is still much more to do and it is an exciting time. Over the summer months there is a busy programme of open days, agency drop ins, staff recruitment and training that will take place in order that the centre can operate fully on all levels, as soon as possible."

Once the centre is running to full capacity, bespoke services and activities will vary according to the needs of the women that use the centre, such as counselling courses, workshops and drop in sessions.