Since June 2015 we have offered a drop in service (Monday - Friday, 9am - 3pm) via our little shop front in a key position in Bognor Regis.
We hold a domestic abuse surgery (Tuesday evening, 5 - 8pm / Saturday morning 9 - 11am), run SHINE confidence courses in Bognor , Chichester and Littlehampton and opened our trading arm - transforming and reinventing donated clothing into high new fashion items, where we employ four women, two of which are apprentices.
We have received funding to employ an Specialist Domestic Abuse Worker to cover the surgery. We were awarded £18,500 from The Roddick Foundation as seed funding, £25,000 from West Sussex County Council to launch our trading arm and local Health & Prevention funding to roll out our confidence courses. The Think Family Network have recently funded our existing drop-in rent until March 2017, so that when we acquire our larger premises , our drop-in will remain a town centre gateway to our services.
Since June 2015, we have supported 48 women(many self refer) with a caseload of more complex cases of 16. We have provided confidence courses and peer group for a further 18. We have recruited 29 volunteers. We have made 4 key partnerships. We have received referrals from Think Family Network, WORTH and WSCC Home Assessment Team.
There is no Women’s Centre for at least 50 miles, which means there is a big gap in the services available to vulnerable women in this area. We offer practical, emotional and therapeutic support to clients at the moment in a small space but we are working towards taking on a four bedroom maisonette with café below.
This will make us even more sustainable long-term. In a fully operational women’s centre we will reduce the ‘revolving door’ syndrome that occurs for many women with multiple issues and will aim to address a range of underlying issues. Women value our safe, women-only space that we have now and the set of supportive relationships with workers and peers they are able to build here.
Having moved to a slightly bigger premises at 108c London Road in May 2016, we quickly started to outgrow the space. However, from that space we help an ever increasing number of women with our equally increasing staff members and wonderful volunteers. We continue to work with various other agencies and organisations and our need is most definitely proven.
Unfortunately, the cafe we were going after did not work out, but we continue to look for larger premises in the hope we will find one with a cafe included. This will not only offer as a trading facility, but will be an ideal place for women who need our support to be. Sometimes, just company and a listening ear is either all that is needed, or just the start of a journey to what they need.
We are exceedingly grateful for all of the funding and support received so far to enable us to reach this point, and help so many women. My Sisters' House CIC continue on our journey, evolving and growing, and hope soon to be in a larger premises with continued support, and offering an increasing range of services to the women who come to us for help.