Women's charity Eaves closes, citing 'abysmal commissioning and high rents' as factors

Louisa Cox, chair of the charity, which supported female victims of violence, says it faced a funding deficit of more than £700k and depleting reserves

Eaves: closed last Friday
Eaves: closed last Friday

The charity Eaves, which provided support for female victims of violence, has closed.

A statement on the charity’s website said that it shut on Friday, with some of its services transferring to other organisations.

Louisa Cox, chair of the charity, said in the statement that "abysmal commissioning" and high rents played a part in the decision to close the charity, which was set up in 1977.

She said: "I became chair of Eaves in May 2015. I was faced with a substantial funding deficit of more than £700,000, coupled with a depleting reserves position and weak fundraising pipeline.

"Together with the board of trustees, I therefore took the very difficult decision on 30 September 2015 to close down Eaves.

"This decision allowed me to oversee and conduct a structured closure, giving priority to informing donors and safeguarding services for our beneficiaries – transferring services to other organisations where possible."

It is not clear from the charity’s statement how many jobs have been lost as a result of its closure. The statement said that three of the charity’s five main projects would continue.

The charity employed 33 people according to its accounts for the year to the end of March 2014.

The charity’s income fell from £6m in the year to the end of March 2012 to £1.4m just two years later.

Cox said: "Eaves has had to contend with high rents, project funding that does not cover the core costs, so an increasing deficit, and most recently the tragic illness, and subsequent loss, of our inspirational chief executive Denise Marshall."

Marshall, who had been chief executive of the charity since 2000, died from cancer in August this year.

"We have taken a range of measures to diversify our funding base, increase donations, cut costs and move offices, but ultimately none of these steps was enough to save us," said Cox.

She also blamed "abysmal commissioning whereby commissioners either do not know or do not care what they should be looking for or how to assess a bid other than by lowest unit cost with no regard to quality.

"This is evidenced by the fact that large, generic, non-specialist organisations are winning tenders, expanding, accumulating vast reserves and specialist, smaller organisations with 40-plus years of history with high levels of self referrals from women are shrinking and having to use their scarce reserves to survive."

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