As International Women’s Day encourages people to challenge gender bias and inequality this year, Heart of England Community Foundation is helping to ease challenges faced by women in the region. The Foundation’s capital builds programme, Building Better Lives, will soon see the opening of a 12-bed refuge and brand-new safe space built in the Black Country to protect survivors of modern slavery.

Black Country Women’s Aid received £800k from a £3M funding pot created by Heart of England, which has since seen the development of a much-needed safe space which will offer urgent support to victims of modern slavery. 

The 12-bed refuge and group activity space has been designed by residents and those helped by the charity, with all interiors chosen by women for women. The expansion will also see the installation of a memorial garden dedicated to those who have lived in the existing accommodation, and those who never got the chance.

Sara Ward, Chief Executive of Black Country Women’s Aid, comments:

“We are so thankful to the Heart of England Community Foundation for supporting this development of our building. It’s important that throughout a women’s journey with us, she feels safe and supported, and that’s why this brand-new safe space is going to make such a difference to women across the region. 

“During the development of the new building, community spirit has been prevalent throughout. The interiors and design have all been chosen by women who are already being helped by the charity, which has ensured that this new space is thinking about the women it’s going to support and has been created with them in mind.”

The new building will be multi-functional, offering refuge to women seeking help from the charity, but also a creative space for those already living in the accommodation. The construction has also seen upgrades and development to the charity’s original building, such as a brand-new heating system throughout.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive at Heart of England Community Foundation, said:

“It is wonderful to see that the Black Country Women’s Aid build is almost at completion. This space will create a huge impact on women in need of the charities support across the region, and I’m so glad that Heart of England could help. When we launched Building Better Lives in 2019, the funding was created to help some of the most vulnerable people across the West Midlands and these brave women certainly fall into that category. I am so pleased that this brand-new build will be able to help more victims who have lived through tremendous suffering.”

For more information about Building Better Lives, as well as the other projects that Heart of England Community Foundation supports, head to

Skip to content