Repairing the lives of vulnerable women
ISIS Women’s Day Centre for vulnerable women is an alternative to short term prison sentences and provides support for women with complex social needs and mental and physical health problems who may be at risk of offending.
April 2011 - March 2012
These women have chaotic life styles; many suffer domestic abuse, lack permanent housing, have debt, mental health and addiction problems, no employable skills, lack the self confidence to get a job and are often on probation. Women in prison short term lose their homes; children have to be taken into care. On release they cannot get their children back without housing. Being in care affects a child’s education and development leading to an intergenerational cycle of crime and deprivation.
We provide a safe, friendly and supportive environment where vulnerable ‘hard to reach’ women with very chaotic lifestyles, can be helped to assess their lives, learn to be in charge of themselves, develop self respect and how to avoid offending. We offer support and guidance in seeking outside support with housing, debt, domestic abuse, substance abuse and the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications in-house and externally. Eventually they will feel brave enough to apply for a job
Encourage women referred by Statutory Services to attend ISIS so staff can assess their needs
Activities» Initially a support worker visits a woman where she is living or meets her on her release from prison and brings her to ISIS for assessment
» To build confidence and trust, a support worker meets the woman at a prearranged place and walks with her to ISIS so she attends the programme
» Work out individual support plans and set goals to help each woman take charge of her life, build her confidence and improve her opportunities
» Women’s children can attend the supervised crèche while they are at ISIS and at approved external courses.
Success will be gaining the women's trust so they attend ISIS regularly
Provide supported applications to Statutory, Medical and specialist services
Activities» Information and support for women completing applications for statutory benefits which need fixed addresses and ISIS provides this.
» Support applications for housing so women’s lives become less chaotic, many are homeless, and their children, if any, can leave care
» On site drop centre for access to specialist advisors on domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape and legal problems
» GP attends and makes referrals for treatment of mental and other health issues including addiction
Success will be women living in their own homes, with their children, and receiving expert help for trauma, addiction, health issues and other problems
Develop each woman’s ability to be in charge of herself and make positive choices to avoid offending
Activities» Everyone attends groups focussing on emotional well being, self esteem, relationships and healing from trauma – learning how to take charge of myself
» Individual sessions to address each woman’s emotional and practical needs
» Workshops/courses on the consequences of crime and links between thoughts and attitudes, crime and substance misuse
Success will be developing self esteem, confidence, being able to think before acting and say no
In house Employment Education Training
Activities» Access to in house computer suite and training in using a computer including how to search for jobs on the internet and send emails
» Help with adult literacy and numeracy if needed. Action for Employment teach c.v. writing, job application and interview skills.
» Opportunity to join sport (Boxercise) and craft classes (Art, Jewellery, pottery)
» Access to the local Further Education college where women attend work related courses. Their children can use the in-house crèche
Success will be gaining key skills; getting and keeping a job
Develop women’s skills and achievements by using expertise of Nelson Trust and other organisations
Activities» In house access to Open College Network (OCN) accredited courses including money management, parenting skills, nutrition and confidence building
» Access to Nelson Trust’s Family Focus services including family therapy, parenting support, couples and relationships therapy
» ‘Eat well on a benefits budget’. Women cook together, talk with each other and eat at a large table, sharing experiences with each other and staff.
» One off sessions in dance, hula hooping and similar activities
Success will be gaining qualifications, life skills, becoming an effective and loving parent
Most of the current intake of women will stay free of crime, becoming self confident people, in control of their lives and in employment. They will use good parenting skills to bring up their families so their children will not develop chaotic life styles.
Sadly there will always be demand for this service but if we can reduce the cohort size it will be worthwhile
Women will not engage - The service uses peer mentors who have completed treatment successfully to encourage participation
Reduction in statutory funding - we are fundraising to cover this
Change of government policy - we lobby through various organisations
Annual report to large donors
Website updated regularly, updates are linked to the Nelson Trust facebook page
Budget - Project Cost: £284,580Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £209,356 staff costs Annual staffing cost £15,276 client costs Annual cost of Courses, travel and project materials £15,400 Infrastructure costs Heat light water council tax £20,936 Overhead costs Admin costs provided by Nelson Trust £23,612 Depreciation Depreciation of fixtures & fittings
Current Funding / Pledges
Source Amount Ministry of Justice £87,000 Guaranteed Corston Coalition £87,000 Guaranteed Summerfield Trust £30,000 Guaranteed Gloucestershire Drug & Alcohol Trust £13,200 Guaranteed Gloucestershire Probation Trust £25,444 Guaranteed
ISIS is located in a quiet central position in Gloucester within easy reach of the bus and rail stations. The building is self contained and has been refurbished to a high standard.
The women attending ISIS, their families and long term development of their children, the children's schools, reduction of prison overcrowding, reduction of numbers of children being taken into care, reduction of need for attendance by probation and police services, reduction in application for benefits, reduction in use of health services.
The Nelson Trust pioneered specialist treatment for women suffering from trauma and abuse who also are substance misusers in a caring and supportive environment. These treatment programmes are equally effective with vulnerable women who may or may not be addicts. The methods of building self knowledge, confidence, realistic decision making and teaching of self reinforcement of recovery produce good results which can be replicated at ISIS.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
She set up the sucessful ISIS project in 2010 in response to the Corston Report . She has worked for many years at NelsonTrust.