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Project information

Somerset Women's Centre

To support women who have been in contact with the criminal justice system or are at risk of being in contact, by providing a one-stop-shop of specialised services including community sentences, probation meetings, and access to specialists for help with finances, relationships, and mental health.

December 2018 - December 2019

Charity information: The Nelson Trust

The Nelson Trust logo
  • Need


    This project is offering support for women who have been in contact with the criminal justice system or are at risk of being in contact. 85% of women sent to prison serve short sentences of less than six months. During this time their children are taken into social care, they lose their accommodation and their job. They may be overcome by symptoms of withdrawal if they were abusing substances, or poor mental health and isolation. Some women attempt suicide in prison because they lose family.


    The Somerset Women's Centre will offer community sentences as an alternative for low-risk women who would otherwise serve time in Eastwood Park Prison. There are spaces to have probation meetings, a free crèche for children, and facilities for washing, cooking, and a room to claim donated items such as SIM cards for mobile phones and winter coats. The Centre will be home to the Change Team - a group of keyworkers, in-reach workers, and family intervention specialists in a welcoming environment.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To equip and refurbish The Nelson Trust Women's Centre in Bridgwater, Somerset.


    » Provide prison in-reach for women who are at risk of re-offending if released back to their unhealthy domestic environment. Diverting away from crime.
    » To provide centre-based trauma-informed, therapeutic groups for women accessing the service including, creche, shower, sanitary items and lunch club.
    » Through intensive 1-to-1 assessment, create an individualised care plan for each woman to assess her health, employment, and domestic situation.
    » End the cycle of offending, homelessness, and encounters with social services by ensuring that women can keep their tenancies and address addiction.

    What success will look like

    The Nelson Trust will have a fully operational building that can be visited, viewed and accessed by at least 250 women within one year.

    Aim 2

    To address the nine criminogenic pathways that lead to offending, and help women access resources.


    » Provide 1-to-1 keyworking support for women who have multiple complex needs and disadvantage. Assess relationships, children and health needs.
    » Create a trauma-informed, all-female environment so women who have reason to mistrust services, can express themselves and find solutions.
    » Establish services by modelling the award-winning services in Gloucester & Swindon, ensuring that all programmes are evidence-based and impactful.
    » Establish an outreach team to work with sex-working women, and women not able to travel to the Women's Centre to access services.

    What success will look like

    By reviewing the care plans of each individual, we will prepare evidence-based reports to share: how many, what needs, what happened and what impact for women and their community.

  • Impact


    In 2017, 900 women accessed our Women's Centres either through agency referral, self-referral, or outreach. Women have become volunteers for our Hub Enterprises, received qualifications, or ended their cycle of offending. Many women were securely housed, clothed, registered with GP, got their children back into safe housing.

    We commission, longitudinal studies, looking at our individual programmes and the benefits including our trauma-informed approach and Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP).


    The risks to this project are insufficient funding and failure to recruit individuals with the right skills and compatibility to The Nelson Trust. In the past, The Nelson Trust has had success with recruiting staff who have remained with the Trust long term, have won awards, and engaged with clients in a positive way.

    The Nelson Trust has a robust fundraising strategy that utilises events, corporate partnerships, and applications to trusts and foundations to secure funding.


    Donors receive requested reports from our internal data analyst and researcher. Donors who have not requested a formal reporting system are welcome to visit the Trust or request an update at any time. We send annual reviews, newsletters, and have active social media channels and a website.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £86,035

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £22,460 Creche Worker Salary costs of a full-time creche worker to be based at Somerset Women's Centre, for one year.
      £22,460 Receptionist Salary costs of a full-time receptionist to be based at Somerset Women's Centre, for one year.
      £5,615 Overheads Computing and mobile systems, management, heating, light etc.
      £7,500 Kitchen To aid client engagement through lunch clubs and enable catering for open events run at the Centre.
      £5,000 Accessible Toilet For full access to ensure everyone is welcome.
      £6,000 Security Doors/Alarms To provide a safe environment for clients.
      £6,500 Painting/Decoration Upgrading throughout the property to make the Centre safe and inviting for clients.
      £10,500 IT & Communications Networkin Secure server, wifi public and private. A requirement for any modern office.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    JA Clark Charitable Trust £12,000 Guaranteed
    Fairfield Trust £15,000 Guaranteed
    The Medlock Trust £15,000 Guaranteed
    Somerset Community Foundation £2,500 Guaranteed
    Somerset Crime Beat £1,500 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our third Women's Centre will be located in Bridgwater, Somerset. Bridgwater is in the centre of a rural area where a proportion of the population experiences extreme deprivation. It is also a focal point for The Nelson Trust to reach the rest of Somerset, much like the Swindon Women's Centre is the ideal location to reach rural Wiltshire.


    Beneficiaries of this project will be vulnerable women who have had contact with the Criminal Justice System, and their families. The Nelson Trust currently engages with women in Gloucester and Swindon who are street-sex working, on probation, have experienced domestic abuse, have rent arrears or other financial issues, have a history of substance and alcohol misuse, or want to re-claim their children and homes after serving a short prison sentence. These women range in age from 18-50.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Nelson Trust has more than thirty years experience with the effects of substance and alcohol misuse. Self-medicating is common among those who have been to prison, are at risk of offending, and street-sex working, or come from families with multiple drug users. The Trust has offered women-specific services since 2010, and follows a trauma-informed approach that acknowledges that a person's 'problem behaviour' may be linked to previous traumatic experiences.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Niki Gould

    Head of Women's Community Services MSc Forensic Psychology

    Christina Line

    Women's Community Services Development & Implementation Manager

    Katie Lewis

    SWOP Programme Co-ordinator


Will Enable The Nelson Trust Women's Centre to Purchase Nutritious Food for Mums and Children

It is a loving, warm and friendly environment. I can feel safe with no judgement. As a working girl, it's hard to trust, but the SWOP always welcomes with open hands. I would be lost without them.

SWOP Client