A CHARITY is aiming to raise £1m to open a new home for vulnerable women.

The Water Lily Project (WLP) currently helps women during a lunch group in Christchurch but the long term aim is to provide a home for those who need help there.

Volunteer Lynn Chisadza said their lunches and outreach services had raised the profile of the group and helped gauge what help is needed in the area.

She said: “The greatest need is for 16 to 25-year-olds who are becoming homeless and have multiple problems.

“So in the home we would also like to house young women with or without children.

“There are pockets of deprivation in Christchurch.”

Currently there are refuges in Poole and Bournemouth but not Christchurch and the group wants to provide a safe house for women to use instead of going to a bed and breakfast or refuge elsewhere.

The WLP, which also stands for Women Loved and Protected, holds its weekly lunches on Thursdays at noon at Hope House in Jumpers Road.

Among those they help are families going through a break-up and among their volunteers and trustees are specialists in children’s services and health.

Caroline Shutler, also one of the core volunteers, uses her own experiences to help.

She said: “If they feel you’ve been there it’s a comfort.

“I lost my husband due to a brain tumour.

“I’m disabled and I was left on my own with two young kids so having been there and got through it hopefully helps others with similar problems.

“We’re frustrated as we’ve got ladies in need but nowhere to offer them.”

The group would be delighted if someone could provide them with a property with a peppercorn rent.

l The Water Lily Project is holding a charity auction at the Manor Hotel in Burton.

The auction starts at the hotel in Salisbury Road at 7pm on Thursday, March 21.

Fundraisers who are completing marathons or other challenges are also being invited to help towards the target.

WLP volunteer Lynn Coombs added: “There are lots of empty houses so you never know who has been left a house that we could use.

“We are looking for help to identify a house to rent or maybe to buy.”

Anybody who wants to provide items or help the project can call the WLP on 07743719063.

Tickets to the auction with a programme are £2.50 and with champagne £5, available on the door or by calling the above number.