Women’s Centres are not new – there are 72 in the UK , some like Brighton Women’s Centre have been running 40 years.
We wanted West Sussex to have one and so set it up in 2014. We have adopted the Women Centred Working way of working: This is an evidenced based initiative to encourage the design and delivery of more effective services for women who are facing multiple disadvantages. Women centred ways of working can get to the root causes of complex problems by integrating and tailoring services around women’s specific needs. There is powerful evidence of the effectiveness of this approach from existing projects in local communities. Women Centred Working has been set up to share good practice, change thinking and promote effective, women centred approaches on a wider national basis. Our approach is to provide services in a women centred way. They are:
Since opening our first drop-in, in June 2015 we have supported 135 women. We work with any women with any issue. To-date; 68% of our cases have had domestic abuse / abuse in their background either from families as a child or past/ present partners. It is essential that every woman who begins a journey with us should be supported in a consistent way. This ensures safeguarding is paramount from the first meeting onward with clear procedures in respect of confidentiality and a clear assessment. At the centre of our contact - a clear, equal pathway of our provision, detailed records and case management and review.
Our original mission was to open one FULLY OPERATIONAL CENTRE offering counselling, coaching, training and IAG. But having piloted the drop-in we realise how successful the model is and taking into account local needs, local views and user led we recognise the values:
Connection: that women feel included, not alone or isolated