Jul 15, 2022
Part of the broader picture of what we do at Beyond the Streets involves outreach. Our approach to which is to walk alongside women, we don’t give advice but recognise her priorities.
“Outreach is above all things about being present. It’s also about creating a safe moment in what is often an unsafe space. Being out on the streets at 2am with women is not always doing anything major. It might be just handing over a pot noodle or items for harm reduction. But presence is at the heart of what we do. Women are the drivers of change in their life, we’re here to say, ‘I see you; I hear you.’ Being alongside makes a difference to women, being in the street in pouring rain makes a difference to women.” – Door of Hope Team Leader*
During Storm Eunice, when people across the UK were battening down the hatches, our outreach team went out as usual. When the team arrived, there were a higher number of women than normal alongside us in the adverse conditions. They don’t have the choice to stay indoors. We were there beside them to be a presence, distribute some hot drinks, and listen.
Outreach isn’t about congratulating ourselves for braving the storm though, it’s about showing women that they’re not alone. We think it’s important to build trust with women; and that means being consistent in our presence regardless of any external factors.
One of the key motivations around continuing our outreach is to put ourselves in spaces where women have a chance to understand who we are, so that they can make the choice to consent to want further support. This can then lead to women choosing to take up daytime support with our Door of Hope team, to unpack what things have been like for them, and where they want things to go moving forward.
With this in mind, we’re pleased to be opening some new drop-in venues for women who sell sex to come for a coffee, snacks and an informal chat. Our drop-in sessions are intended to offer a chance for our support workers to introduce the services we can offer, which can empower women to have a choice that is informed.
*Door of Hope is the East London on-street and daytime support service arm of Beyond the Streets. https://doorofhope.org.uk/
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