A HEART-SHAPED pledge of support for a York project aiming to inspire women to take their lives in a new direction has been signed by a city MP on a Valentine’s Day visit.

Kyra – translated from Slavonic as “strong woman” – was launched last November to offer sanctuary for women who have suffered domestic violence, gone through a divorce or separation, lost a loved one or feel lonely.

It provides events and courses including creative arts, stress management, gardening, financial guidance and workshops in improving self-esteem.

The heart signed by York Central MP Hugh Bayley yesterday will be sewn into a quilt which trustee Yvonne Copley said would “capture ideas for change” and messages of support for Kyra.

She said: “It’s fantastic to have Hugh’s support, especially on Valentine’s Day. We know not all women will have been celebrating Valentine’s Day with hearts and roses. For many, it is yet another personal reminder of the hurt and pain they are struggling through.

“Many women suffer in silence and isolation, but Kyra is there to support those going through difficult times, and we hope Hugh’s involvement will encourage others to join us.”

Mr Bayley said: “It saddens me to think there are many women and children who are affected by domestic violence.

“On a day when so many were receiving cards, chocolates and flowers from loved ones, it was important to remember some people are being left to deal with fear and abuse on their own, and others are dealing with bereavement or struggling with loneliness. I urge any woman in need of help to contact Kyra.”

For more information, email Support@kyra.org.uk, phone 01904 632332 or visit kyra.org.uk