St Giles redoubles efforts to support women through the post-Covid cuts

St Giles has stepped up its work helping women facing adversities such as homelessness, leaving prison, poverty and unemployment.  On International Women’s Day (Tuesday 8 March) St Giles is calling for better support for women facing disadvantage and adversity. This comes at a time when accessing essential services helping with issues around mental health, domestic abuse and substance misuse becomes more challenging.

Reverses to the increase in Universal Credit, a lifeline for many during the challenges of the pandemic, have already had a damaging effect on our clients.  They represent a 20% drop in their incomes and it has had a disproportionate effect on many of our female clients who are main carers and providers for their families.

This month, St Giles established a new project empowering women to use their lived experience of overcoming adversity to help shape the lives of other women going through similar issues. The WREN Project (Women Rising Enabling Neighbourhoods) offers grants to grassroots organisations in Norfolk and Kent (King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Margate) to train women to become community champions and advocate for others.

Today (8 March 2022) also sees the announcement of the extension of funding for theWonder+ Project which provides holistic care and support for women in the community who are involved in or at risk of involvement in the criminal justice system. St Giles caseworkers address underlying issues which are holding the women back from progressing their lives.

Thanks to over £180K of funding from the OPCCN (Office Of The Police & Crime Commissioner for Norfolk) Norfolk County Council Public Health and St Giles, WONDER+ is now set to be extended until 31 March 2023 to help even more women.  Funding consists of £90,235 from the OPCCN, £45,000 from Norfolk County Council Public Health and £45,078 from St Giles, the scheme will continue a focus on the impact of drugs on the lives of clients – linking with the Project ADDER programme in the Greater Norwich area designed to target drug misuse and supply.

Over 21,000 women have been supported by St Giles over the past five years through a range of projects, ranging from specialist support for women both in and leaving prison, help for girls and young women at risk of child criminal exploitation and services which provide help for whole families.

Many of these women have trained through St Giles to become Peer Advisors providing advice, support and advocacy to other women going through similar issues.  As women with lived experience themselves, they are credible role models who know their local communities and are able create positive changes at grassroots.

Rob Owen, Chief Executive at St Giles said:

This International Women’s Day we will be celebrating the achievements of women across the globe but especially those of the women we support.  Many have survived extreme situations around poverty, trauma, abuse and health problems. We empower them with the tools and skills to use their strength and resilience to help transform the lives of others.”

He continued:

They challenge many of the stereotypes surrounding women who are disadvantaged and in vulnerable circumstances. They are changemakers who have a lot to offer their local communities and wider society.”

At 12pm on International Women’s Day we will be hosting a free online event where guests can hear from women we have supported and our partners who have made this work possible.  To secure your place, please click here.

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