A group which has helped thousands of women and children find refuge and support is to close.

Trustees of the Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire branch of Women’s Aid have decided to close after more than 40 years helping victims of domestic violence and abuse.

It is closing because of issues with funding. A statement released by the branch said: “It is with great sadness that Wellingborough and East Northants Womens Aid (WENWA) announces its imminent closure after over 40 years serving victims of domestic violence and abuse in the local Community and beyond.

“In fact WENWA was one of the first.

“Hard earned cash reserves have dwindled since the recession to the point where WENWA can no longer continue.

“Like many other local and national charities, sufficient and sustainable funding has become very difficult to obtain.

“The manager, Hamida, was devastated by the decision to close, but was reassured that during her 35 years overseeing the organisation, an amazing and transformative impact had been experienced by thousands of families who found safe shelter and support in this district at a time of great need and distress.”

Since 1975, there have been 14,929 referrals, with 5,704 women and 7,578 children provided with safe refuge, support and aftercare by WENWA’s local charity network.

Following the closure, it is hoped that other charity partners will be able to support current and new victims in the county.

The statement from the trustees of the WENWA added: “The trustees and manager would like to thank its long-serving team in Wellingborough and East Northants for all they have achieved, including all those who have funded and contributed to the organisation, financially and practically, including volunteers, schools, churches, companies, charities, private individuals, housing associations and public bodies.”