Registered Charity Number: 1099006

Who or what is One25?

Posted by Friends of Beyond the Streets on 26/10/2011 at 11:01 AM



One25 is now a force to be reckoned with in Bristol, working closely with drugs agencies, the police and other organisations to fulfil its mission: to reach out to women trapped in street sex work, supporting them to break free and build new lives away from violence, poverty and addiction.


One25 has grown in fifteen years from a tiny group of volunteers with a start-up fund of £5, to a thriving operation which costs nearly a million pounds per annum to run, with 25 paid staff and more than 140 regular volunteers.


What do we do?


Three volunteers take a yellow-topped van, with seats inside, round the streets of Bristol five evenings a week. This is often the first point of contact with women on the streets, who step into the van to enjoy a few minutes in a safe, warm space with food, hot drinks and help and support if needed.


We also run a drop-in centre in the heart of St Paul’s, a women-only space where visitors can have a hot meal, do laundry, have a shower, and access services dealing with health, housing, debt, domestic violence -  anything that is confining them in a harmful lifestyle. Some women will have caseworkers for more intensive support. Skills training is offered, including pottery, art and creative writing. Women are supported to attend community courses.


Naomi House, a mother-and-baby home and our most recent project, supports women and their babies in establishing new and healthy lifestyles and routines away from addiction and sex work.


We hold firmly to our aim of supporting vulnerable women at any and every stage of their journey, but these days we are more ambitious in what we do to support women to rebuild their lives after they have taken those first brave and difficult steps away from the streets.


See our website: http://www.one25.org.uk and watch this space to see more from One25!


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An Evaluation of The Home Office Review of Effective Practice in Responding to Prostitution

Posted by Beyond The Streets on 24/10/2011 at 12:18 PM



The Home Office has released ‘A Review of Effective Practice in Responding to Prostitution’. This review focuses on the importance of a multi agency approach working at a local level (Local Authorities and Community Safety partnerships) over the importance of a national strategy. This has its benefits in trying to tailor the responses to prostitution to each localities needs, recognising the complexities involved and the range of issues that need to be addressed in each community. The review highlights different case studies where this multi-agency local level approach has been effective, yet it is difficult to know if these cases are representative of what is happening elsewhere. What is worth questioning is whether this local level approach will be the best in ensuring that the need of those exploited through prostitution are being addressed, or whether there is also a need for an enforcement of a national strategy. As local authorities’ budgets are strained will the women involved in prostitution be left at the bottom of the pile again as others needs are prioritised?

 

A local level approach could have the potential on pressing home that this is not a story about numbers – but a story about lives. This is demonstrated through the review highlighting that each person affected has different needs that require the involvement of different agencies working in cooperation. More of an emphasis on a national strategy could run the risk of overlooking differences in localities e.g. due to the demography of an area or focussing on the broader issue rather than real people. A multi agency approach can help to tailor the best support for each case, especially due to the vast support that can be needed that can involve safety, outreach, drop-in services, health, domestic violence, housing, benefits, alcohol and drugs, employment and training, criminal justice support, and exiting and aftercare (Home Office 2011, p. 15).   

 

Although the advantages are recognised the pressure landing on the local level is clear. There is much hope placed upon the localities being proactive in making things happen, this is heavily reliant on there being community awareness and understanding, and an active voluntary sector, amongst other things. The concern is that this could result in a disparity between different localities and the quality of services provided and action being taken. 

 

The role of the government amidst all this is to ‘provide support to these local agencies as they develop and improve their response’ (Home Office 2011, p. 2). The review aims to help local agencies learn from each other so that ‘best practice that can be shared from across the UK’ (Home Office 2011, p. 2). However, the question arises whether lessons learnt on the local level would then sometimes be better to implement on a national level? For instance this has become apparent with the ugly mugs schemes. The ‘National’ needs to work alongside the ‘local’ so that issues surrounding prostitution are kept high on the agenda, rather than slipping to the bottom of the pile and once more being left hidden and unnoticed.

 

 

 


Home Office (2011). A Review of Effective Practice In Responding to Prostitution. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/responding-to-prostitution

 


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