In 1973 two doctors and their wives (Dr Basil and Enid Levy; Dr Cyril and Pat Taylor) were becoming increasingly concerned over the injuries sustained by women at the hands of their partners. Worse still was the effect it was having on the children, who more often than not witnessed the violent arguments and brutal attacks.
They decided it was time to take a stand against the violence and obtained a low rental accommodation – the Refuge (2nd in the country) was established. The Refuge was originally intended for just a few families, but by word of mouth more and more families arrived on the doorstep and nobody was ever turned away. It soon became clear that the building did not provide enough accommodation for those seeking help; the Trustees then persuaded a local housing association (Princes Park) into funding the first ever purpose built refuge in the country; which opened its doors in July 1984.
The Refuge ran successfully for 39 years in total but sadly was unsuccessful in obtaining funding through Liverpool City Council’s tendering process in December 2011. At the same time the building was no longer suitable for families due to its shared facilities, this sadly also closed its doors 12th December 2011. The new service provider offers two-bedroom, fully furnished self contained flats and two three-bedroom houses, over two sites for the families who find themselves in a Domestic Abuse situation.
Although Centre 56 no longer provides Refuge accommodation, it still continues to support families living in Domestic Abuse or crisis situations. The Centre runs a free Ofsted registered Nursery and After School Club, whilst also offering support to anyone needing it through advice, peer support and confidence building courses. The current building offers flexible modern facilities to provide a range of services to families and the wider community.