A ROSSENDALE woman is hoping to set up a women’s only centre close to an estate with a 73 per cent female population.

Joanna Shea, founder of what will be called Graceful Oaks, aims to provide free creative therapy, counselling, advice and training courses to valley women ‘struggling to deal with life’s difficulties.’ Joanna, 29, of Market Street, Edenfield, is hoping to open the centre in Ramsbottom close to the Peel Brow estate.

She said: “I have always had a passion for helping women.

"I chose Ramsbottom because on the Peel Brow estate alone, 73 per cent of the residents are female.

“I have chosen to open a women’s only centre because women are less likely to ask for help than men, especially if there are men around.”

The facility will be largely run by volunteers and Joanna is now appealing for people to get involved.

Joanna, who volunteers at a women’s centre in Accrington, said: “I went to a meeting of Ramsbottom Business Group and spoke to them about what I want to do.

"I’m hoping they can help me find a base for the centre.

"I have no funding at all so I’m relying on other people to volunteer until I can get my name out there.

“I hope to create a place where women can come with any problem and if we can’t help them, we will be able to show them to people who can. Domestic violence is one of the first things people think of when they think of a women’s centre but we won’t just be about that.”

E-mail gracefuloaks@live.co.uk.