Beyond the Streets occupies a unique role within the sector – we are not solely a service delivery organisation nor a campaign organisation: alongside our direct work with women, we equip and support other projects across the UK to tackle the sexual exploitation that happens in every community.
One of our key values is collaboration not competition. Since 1999, we have taken a lead in supporting the multiplication of projects who share our commitment to ending sexual exploitation. We support the development of new projects, helping them to avoid pitfalls and establish good foundations. We provide support and guidance for public sector, health and charity practitioners who are journeying with women as they try to find routes out. We help practitioners to problem solve and reflect on their practice. We guide them to work with people in a helpful, practical and positive way. We provide specialist guidance and advice through informal face to face meetings and we introduce potential volunteers to projects in their local area. Services represented in the network of affiliated projects include: drop-ins, on and off-street outreach, prison outreach, refuges, social enterprises and child sexual exploitation prevention. We facilitate sector specific action learning sets to ensure connection and group learning.
It is important that affiliate projects are connected together as staff and volunteers often face isolation, particularly when working with a group of people where change often happens over the long-term.
“Beyond the Street’s tough love supported us through a difficult time of revaluation and helped us to establish firmer foundations. We have moved on and grown stronger as a result. We have now got some funding and are recruiting an outreach worker to sustain and develop our service.” (Manager of an Affiliate Project, March 2019)
Having a network of over 40 affiliate projects builds this sense of community and shared commitment. We have found networking breaks this isolation and creates pathways where advice and support can be obtained across locations. We have seen projects that have engaged in the network increase their effectiveness through identifying what is working elsewhere and can be replicated. There have been shared training opportunities which reduce costs and a similar sharing of resources.
Beyond the Streets has a national focus. This allows us to look at the sector as a whole and identify both gaps in the provision of services and opportunities to gain influence in order to promote genuine routes out of prostitution. The extensiveness of the national network of affiliate projects provides a strong platform to replicate good practice as well as influence policy on issues regarding the sex industry and to promote genuine routes out of prostitution.
We have a long-term legacy in mind: we want to ensure that the voices and experiences of women who are sexually exploited are included in any strategies that might affect them, both at a policy level and at a service delivery level. We want to ensure that sexual exploitation and survival sex is made visible and more is done to tackle the root causes. We want to resource new projects in order to increase the availability of specialist services women are able to access. We want to create more online resources through our integrated research to ensure that projects across the UK and changes in policy and practice are shaped and informed by up-to-date research, lived experience and practitioner experience.
If you are interested in finding out more, or starting a new project, then please contact us.