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The aim of the organisation was to provide affordable supported accommodation to women aged 16-65

A History of WHAG

WHAG was established in Rochdale in 1981 by Rose Sumner. The aim of the organisation was to provide affordable supported accommodation to women aged 16-65 who were homeless, and Rose was determined that the accommodation would be affordable for women in employment. At the time the only provision for women in the borough was for women fleeing domestic violence. Any other homelessness provision was just for men.

Originally WHAG was situated on the Cloverhall estate in Rochdale and all accommodation was shared. Over the years this project became unsuitable.

In 1996, working in partnership with St Vincent’s Housing and Rochdale Council, WHAG moved to premises on Manchester Road, named Rose Court after Rose Sumner. This provided self-contained flats for 16 women. At that time WHAG were also able to secure some lottery funding to provide resettlement service to women as they moved on.

WHAG then began to look at the wider needs of women and through funding from the Housing Corporation’s Innovation and Good Practice grant we were able to commission a piece of research via Salford University in 1999. This research, ‘The Housing and Support needs of women especially those from the ethnic minorities’ informed development, and in 2002 WHAG established a Black and Minority Ethnic Development Project, to offer support to BME women, and to further extend the research. This was funded for three years by the Community Fund.

In 2000 WHAG secured funding from the NSF fund to provide outreach work to 16-19-year-olds.  This proved very successful and continued until 2003 when this work was absorbed into the floating support service.

In 2001, again in partnership with St Vincent’s Housing Association, WHAG began offering floating support to women aged 16-65 living in a St Vincent’s tenancy. This service was expanded in 2003 with the advent of Supporting People to provide support to women in any tenancy across the borough of Rochdale.

In 2008 WHAG expanded its work into Bury through Bury grant funding via the GM Community Foundation to offer support and crisis intervention to vulnerable women and women experiencing domestic abuse in Bury. In 2009 this service was extended thanks to a one-off donation from Bury Women’s Aid.

In 2009 WHAG also successfully tendered to deliver floating support services to women experiencing and fleeing domestic abuse in the borough of Bury.   This service has now been extended to include supporting men.

In 2012 WHAG again successfully bid for some of this Bury grant funding via the Communities Department. Due to the large number of bids granted WHAG received less funding than hoped for. We are now providing the Recovery Toolkit and the Freedom programme to women in various venues across Bury.

In 2012 RMBC re-configured and re-tendered all the original Supporting People contracts and brought them under the umbrella of adult care. WHAG was successful in winning the bids for single homeless women and the flexible Domestic Abuse service.

WHAG also self-funded a pilot men’s DV service in Rochdale.