Derby Women’s Centre was founded in 1978. A group of local women began to hold meetings in their homes to discuss the needs of women. From this came a free pregnancy testing service, an advice helpline and Derby Rape Crisis. The centre was funded by donations and income generated by volunteers. In 1995, Derby Rape Crisis secured funding and moved to larger premises near to our current location on Leopold Street.
Our first ‘home’ was the Mandela Centre on Peartree Road. In 1982, we moved to a small room in the Guild Hall in Derby, and expanded again to larger premises in Green Lane in 1986, which allowed us to offer a wider range of services and provide space to Hadhari Nari, a housing association which later became affiliated to Women’s Aid.
Around this time we secured funding from Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council and the Manpower Services Commission Community Programme Agency to cover growing running and staff costs.
In 1990 we moved from Green Lane to our current premises on Leopold Street. This enabled us to offer accommodation to Karma Nirvana, a group formed by local women to assist others in making positive health choices. They remained with us until their move to the St James Centre in 1998.
We were also involved in the creation of Derby Women’s Work in June 2003 following a partnership with the Edge Project. In 2004, Women’s Work moved to their own premises and extended their services to include a nurse practitioner and counselling service.
Since then, we have established ourselves as a leading provider of general support services for local women.