Embedded in the Bognor Regis community, My Sisters’ House CIC Women’s Centre works across the coastal area (Arun & Chichester). Our beneficiaries are women and girls who have suffered violence and abuse and are deeply traumatised and go onto face multiple problems like very low self-esteem, poor mental and physical health and turning to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. We provide an independent frontline service, co-produced by local women, safe, supportive and community-based, trauma informed, holistic and in a gender specific way: Information & Signposting, Advice & Support, Individual Casework / Complex Casework, Grow Skill & Confidence and Enable access to volunteering & work. We presently run our grassroots women's centre from a 300sq ft premises in Bognor Regis. We also pay small hire charges for 3 other spaces. We want to acquire a 2,500sq ft space which would enable us provide a much bigger drop in, bring our counselling , peer groups and more into one space - a centre
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
We have a unique reach within our community and fill essential gaps in statutory provision. As the ‘net beneath the net,’ we meet the needs of marginalised women and provide them with a voice. We are presently supporting a high number of women who have totally disengaged with statutory provision. Women’s Centre’s such as ours, play an important role in filling gaps in statutory provision and supporting hard to reach groups. During each week we are open 35hrs per week including four evenings and Saturday morning with 32 active volunteers providing between them 150 hrs per week, which supports 9 part-time staff. We have no paid full-time posts, although our CEO works full-time and is paid 24hrs per week at present. To date we have supported 520 women since we opened our first drop in in 2015.
Steps to get it done:
We have piloted and proved the value of women centred working and our highly accessible women’s community hub; we have statistics and evidence. Further national research supports, backs and emphasises the commissioning gender specific services as the way forward. Not least, most recently with the new Ministry of Justice - Female Offender Strategy June 2018 which outlines the shift from custody to women’s community provision – to this end we are highly relevant and with an appropriate centre building we would attract more contracts / funding and raise ito become sustainable. We want to take centre stage in West Sussex as a beacon of good practice and by helping us ypu can help local women to make positive changes their lives, we can help reduce demands on state services including the police, courts and offender management, prisons and social services, primary and emergency healthcare, and housing. We can also improve the long-term outcomes for the children of their clients.
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