A newly built women’s centre has gained the highest award given by Secured by Design (SBD), the national police crime prevention initiative, for incorporating crime prevention techniques into the layout, landscaping and physical security of the development.
The Preston Road Women’s Centre in Hull, which is run by the charity Winner and cares for women fleeing abusive homes and relationships, had outgrown its current premises ‘Purple House’. This previous premises, constructed using two prefab semis knocked together needed modernisation after being used for 18 years.
Established in 2000, the charity has assisted in excess of 4,000 women over the years but reports show a recent 40% spike in women and children accessing the service experiencing violence.
To assist with the construction of the new centre, the charity was awarded a grant of £996,910 from the Big Lottery Fund in 2016, the second largest Reaching Communities Buildings lottery grant. Another £5,000 grant was put towards the build after the charity won the ‘Embracing Opportunity and Harnessing Risk’ award at the 2017 Charity Governance Awards. The remaining £151,000 for the build was raised by the charity through ‘The Big Purple Build’ campaign.
Construction of the new centre, which is just half a mile from the current centre on the corner of Bilton Grove and Preston Road, commenced in November 2017, on land gifted to the charity by the local authority, Hull City Council.
An Secured by Design trained Designing Out Crime Officer worked with the architects, LNS Partnership, and the construction company, Hobson and Porter Construction, from the planning stages through to construction to incorporate Secured by Design crime prevention techniques and security in the build.
The measures included the built environment, are lighting, fencing, CCTV, alarms and the installation of Secured by Design accredited windows and doors.
The new building, which is more environmentally friendly and will allow more services to be offered to local women and children. These include a larger nursery, clinical space for women to see medical practitioners and four more support rooms; along with many more improvements.
Ann Clarkson, Centre Coordinator for Preston Road Women’s Centre, said: “We are delighted to have this new facility which will help us extend the services we have provided to women and children in the area for over 18 years.
“Safety is such an essential part of our services and it was important for us to know that the new building is fit for purpose and built for visitors to feel secure and protected in their surroundings. The additional Secured by Design security features are very reassuring for both staff and visitors alike and we’re really grateful for the support of this scheme.”
Marc Dias, Designing Out Crime Officer for Humberside Police, said: “This is an excellent new addition to Preston Road that will provide an important service for years to come. The incorporation of Secured by Design standards helps ensure that the development provides a safe, secure and sustainable setting in to the future”.
Helen Smith from LNS Partnership Architects, said: “We have worked with Preston Road Women’s Centre from the inception of this project and it is very rewarding to see the finished building which results from early discussions with Centre staff, management, trustees, volunteers and users to establish their requirements and translate these into a building which satisfies the very specialised function.”
Dave Blades, Business Development Director from Hobson & Porter Construction, said: “The security of any public-use building, and the safety of its users are always important considerations for us as a contractor. It was a valuable experience for our project team at Preston Road Women’s Centre to work alongside the Designing Out Crime Officer and learn more about SBD crime prevention techniques, and we will look to utilise this knowledge to help provide further protection on future schemes.”