The history of Centre 56 began in 1973 when two doctors and their wives (Dr Basil and Enid Levy; Dr Cyril and Pat Taylor) were becoming increasingly concerned about the injuries sustained by women at the hands of their partners.
Worse still was the effect it was having on the children, who were witnessing the violent arguments and attacks.
They decided it was time to help and obtained accommodation, which they named the Refuge. The Refuge was was the second of its kind in the country.
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 was not big enough. The Trustees then persuaded a local housing association, Princes Park, to fund the first-ever purpose built refuge in the country, which opened its doors in July 1984.
In total the Refuge ran successfully for 39 years. Sadly it was unsuccessful in getting funding through Liverpool City Council’s tendering process. At the same time it was found that the building was no longer suitable for families due to its shared facilities. The Refuge finally closed its doors in December 2011.
Although Centre 56 no longer provides Refuge accommodation, it still continues to support families living in domestic abuse or crisis situations.
Today the Centre runs a free Ofsted-registered nursery and after-school club, whilst still offering support to anyone who needs it. This is done through advice, peer support and confidence building courses.
In 2018 Centre 56 joined The Regenda Group. Regenda decided to bring the nursery into the Group after becoming aware that it was facing financial difficulty and closure. Being a part of the Group, Centre 56 will benefit from greater support and stability.