Under-threat domestic violence charity Behind Closed Doors could be thrown a £150,000 lifeline.

The Otley-based group, which helped more than 500 women last year and is the only one of its kind in north-west Leeds, is facing closure in 2010 due to a funding crisis.

But now Leeds City Council has stepped forward with a funding plan that could allow the charity to keep running – at least until 2011.

The package, worth between £130,000 and £150,000, would see the Leeds Supporting People commissioning body commissioning Behind Closed Doors’ services for just over 12 months until March, 2011.

The deal would involve the council’s housing services signing a short-term contract with Behind Closed Doors while carrying out a review of domestic violence outreach services across the city.

But first it has to be approved by the Supporting People commission, which will make its decision on Monday, November 2.

Councillor Les Carter, the city council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and housing, said: “I’m delighted we have identified a source of funding to help Behind Closed Doors.

“Requests for funding mid-year are always difficult to accommodate but this organisation is doing vital work for people who have experienced domestic violence, and it was absolutely right that we consider whether there was anything we could do to help.

“The proposal on the table is, of course, a short-term solution but it would address the immediate threat of closure faced by the charity, as well as allowing us time to review domestic violence outreach services in the city.”

Coun Carter added: “The council already makes a very large commitment towards helping people who are experiencing domestic violence, currently spending more than £800,000 commissioning such support services, and we will continue to do all we can to support work in this important area.”

The charity itself, while delighted at the prospect of a rescue package, is wary of celebrating until the proposal has been agreed.

Behind Closed Doors manager Louise Tyne said: “We’re cautiously optimistic because it’s still to go to a meeting and we won’t know for sure until after that, so it’s a bit of a waiting game.

“But it would appear we have the support of Coun Carter which we’re delighted about and we’re hopeful of a positive outcome.

“Our annual running costs are about £135,000 but we’ve had a 25 per cent increase in demand from January and need to make one of our part-time members of staff full-time, which would take the figure up to £150,000.

“If we get the money it will give us a year’s breathing space but we’re very keen to state that we will continue our efforts to raise funds and look at income generation as well. This money would allow us to look forward and be very clear about where we want to develop and form possible partnerships.

“We’re happy to be reviewed because we believe we deliver a quality service that leads to a positive outcome for so many women and children.”

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, who wrote to Coun Carter to highlight the group’s plight, said: “The charity has always been close to my heart and I have spoken about it in Parliament previously, so as far as I was concerned for Behind Closed Doors to shut down due to lack of funding was not an option.

“It is great news that the council looks like it is going to come forward to ensure the future of this extremely important service, and congratulations must be given to all those involved in the campaign to save Behind Closed Doors.

“I would like to stress, however, that it remains essential that the council puts in place a long-term funding strategy to ensure that we do not find ourselves in the same position again.

“If Behind Closed Doors were to close then the council would be obliged to provide this important service themselves, it is therefore in everybody’s interest that its long-term future is assured.”

Coun Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: “Although the charity has been offered a potential lifeline, nothing has yet been agreed. This is an immensely good cause which is close to my heart – and I know exactly how vital their support is to people in Otley and Yeadon.”

“I sincerely hope the Supporting People Commissioning Body makes the right choice at their November meeting.

BCD’s services cost £11,000 a month to provide, money the charity has been finding increasingly hard to find to the extent it could close by February, 2010, if a rescue package cannot be agreed. An online petition urging LCC to financially back the group can be found at petitiononline.com/BCD275.