Launching early morning outreach in east London

Jul 19, 2016

Early on Thursday morning, our Door of Hope Project began an exciting new chapter with the launch of early morning outreach on the streets of Tower Hamlets, London. Door of Hope exists to offer hope, support and routes out of prostitution for women. As we develop, we are keen to ensure that our activities are intuitive to the context and community we seek to serve. We don’t want to immediately set off on the path we are used to taking without regularly reassessing against the golden question; is this path the right one for the women we journey with?

Over the last few months we have been asking this question of our outreach activities in dialogue with the local council, police and the women we work with.

For twenty years a team has walked the streets of Tower Hamlets, armed with hot chocolate, sexual health packs, a friendly face and a listening ear. Increasingly we’ve noticed that between the hours of 1-2am, as our team are preparing to finish outreach for the evening the women we work with are only just beginning their night on the streets. We know that safety and support Door of Hope offers women is invaluable for the women we work with. If our support is appreciated at the beginning of the night, how much more valuable would it be towards the end, after hours exposed to the elements and the distressing realities of selling sex on the streets? Informed by these realities and inspired by conversations we’ve had with the women we work with, we made the decision to begin with one to two early morning outreach sessions a month, in addition to our regular evening outreach.

Last week, we were delighted to launch early morning outreach in Tower Hamlets. At 5.00am our team began their first early morning shift, carrying Door of Hope’s twenty year legacy into an exciting new season. Reflecting on these new beginnings, Door of Hope’s Co-ordinator Rebecca told us, 
“We have spent the last few months re-examining the activities of Door of Hope, looking at what we do and why we do it. We want to keep our work in tune with women’s lives, shaping our activities according to their needs and requests. Launching early morning outreach is us tuning into the lives of the women we exist support, ensuring our activities compliment the realities of their lives. If that means waking up at 4am, that’s what we’re going to do…”

The Door of Hope is a project run by Beyond the Streets in the east end of London.  To hear more about the work of Door of Hope, you can visit the Door of Hope website here or you can sign up to the Beyond the Streets newsletter which regularly features updates.

Door of Hope Volunteer Nikki Burnhope during morning outreach.