Women’s project to continue

Women who have been helped by Support for Women Around Northumberland (SWAN) launch a giant swan on the River Wansbeck.
Women who have been helped by Support for Women Around Northumberland (SWAN) launch a giant swan on the River Wansbeck.

A GIANT swan took to the River Wansbeck to celebrate the success of a women’s project.

Support for Women Around Northumberland (Swan) has secured funding from the Ministry of Justice and the Northern Rock Foundation to keep going for a further year.

And to mark the news, a group of women helped by the charity built a large floating swan from recycled materials and launched it on the river, watched by an audience of invited guests.

The project, based in the south east of the county, helps women involved with the criminal justice system to get their lives back on track.

It was set up last March and has received more than 200 referrals since then, most of them from Blyth, Ashington, Cramlington and Bedlington.

The swan was built in a church hall in Amble over a two-week period as a team-building exercise. It was constructed from reclaimed wood, chicken wire, polystyrene and other materials.

What will happen to it now is undecided.

Project co-ordinator Katie Wheatley said: “The SWAN project has been recognised by the Ministry of Justice as one of the most successful projects they fund.

“It has been operating for a year and has achieved a 70 per cent reduction in reoffending rates, which is a remarkable achievement.

“The launch of the swan was a way to celebrate the winning of another year’s funding and to highlight the achievements of all the partners and the clients.”