Wycombe Rape Crisis is a non-profit making organisation, which came into being with autonomous charitable status in 1995, although a service has been offered in the Wycombe area since 1991 as part of Buckinghamshire Rape Crisis. The organisation offered face-to-face and telephone counselling for women survivors of sexual violence.
Initially staffed by volunteers only, in 1992 two-year funding was obtained to finance a part-time Development Worker. When the funding came to an end in 1994, no further funding was found and the organisation continued, staffed by volunteers only. It gradually became clear that it was no longer possible to provide the same level of service and Wycombe Rape Crisis reverted to providing a 24-hour answerphone service only, as a point of contact for female survivors. Women whom Wycombe Rape Crisis were unable to help were referred to other organisations, such as Aylesbury Rape Crisis who provided counselling.
In April 1998 Wycombe Rape Crisis reached an impasse in which the value of its service and therefore its continued existence became questionable. An emergency Trustees meeting was called and it was recommended that Wycombe Rape Crisis was closed down. One new member to the group asked to be given a year’s grace to try and revive the organisation by forming a new working group and looking at getting long-term funding. This was agreed and she was given until April 1999.
In October 1998 the new working group made a decision to spend the small amount of money in the bank employing a worker on a 6-month contract to draw up a development plan, write a business plan and apply for funding. It was to be a make or break situation as it was felt that, with no significant on-going funding, Wycombe Rape Crisis would not survive into the 21st century.
The contract worker came into post in January 1999 for 6 months; she drew up a business plan and a development plan and in May put in an application to the National Lotteries Charity Board for three-year funding. At the beginning of October 1999 we heard that we had been successfully awarded 100% of our application, which would enable us, over a three year period, to develop face-to-face and telephone counselling, support for female survivors and their carers, self-help groups, advice and information for other professionals and education and awareness raising for young people and the general public.