Our History

The Elm Foundation


In 1985 North Derbyshire Women’s Aid was founded and the first refuge in the area was opened, accommodating 6 women and their children all of whom were provided with both emotional and practical support to move on from the abuse to a life free of violence and control.

The organisation was the brainchild of a group of women who identified that services for women and children experiencing domestic abuse were at best, very limited and generally non-existent. At that time domestic abuse was still something rarely discussed and accepted as ‘one of those things’, the phrase ‘she had made her bed, she will have to lay in it’ being in frequent use at that time.

1990 - 2013

In the 1990’s North Derbyshire’s Women’s Aid acquired a new refuge “Celia House” this replaced the original one set up in its inception. We were able to increase our bed spaces in 2004 when a new refuge “Beryl House” as opened. In 2010 we opened a Male refuge, providing much needed safety for male victims fleeing their abuse. In 2013 we purchased Shirley House our final women’s refuge. Now 22 women, 3 men and their children can be safe and supported within our refuges.

We were able to later expand to include specific children’s and young people’s services within the community, adult community outreach, counselling and Therapeutic services.

Over the last few years, we have, on average supported more than 350 adults and over 260 children within the community. Each year, on average over 110 adults have been resident within our refuges accompanied by an average of 88 children.


Following several moves across Chesterfield, in 2014 we moved to our new administrative building to accommodate the ever-expanding services we offer. From here we can provide “drop in” appointments for individuals to speak directly to staff about their concerns and to make referrals to our specialist teams. Our office base also allows us to offer solicitor appointments through our links with several local law firms.


In October 2018 we changed our name and became The Elm Foundation. Our logo the Elm Tree represents some of our core aims: To provide Shelter, to protect and build strength.


In April 2020, we were successful in securing continued funding from Derbyshire County Council to support several of our core services; Refuge, Children and Adult services.

We were also successful in securing funding to now provide the Derbyshire Domestic Abuse Helpline. This county wide service provides phone, text and online support for victims and a single point of access for referrals to specialist domestic abuse services. This service is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 10pm via phone 08000 198 668, text 07534 617 252 and website www.derbyshiredomesticabusehelpline.co.uk.