A WOMEN’s refuge will be warmer next winter thanks to a near £8,000 donation.

The heating system at Bishop Auckland Women’s Refuge is more than 20 years old and manager Fiona Nicol said it would not last another winter.

But they can now install a new system thanks to Durham County Councillor for Weardale, Anita Savory.

She raised £3,145 at a ladies night in Wolsingham Working Men’s Club earlier this year and has now secured a further £4,823.68 from the Sir Tom Cowie Charitable Trust.

Councillor Savory said: “This refuge is the only one of its sort in the area and is a lifeline for families who find themselves victims of domestic abuse.

“It takes in women and children from Weardale and fully deserves support.”

Ms Nicol said: “I would like to thank Cllr Savory and the Sir Tom Cowie Trust, this money will make a huge difference to us.

“I would love to see a day when the service is no longer needed, but sadly that won’t be in my lifetime.

“We have space for six families and as one leaves, another is quick to come in.”