Can you help us to buy a van for outreach work with women involved in prostitution?
On 30 October the women's charity Eaves closed down. One of their services was the London Exiting and Advocacy (LEA) Project.
The LEA Project offers non-judgemental support to women in prostitution. The barriers for women who want to exit are many and complex. The LEA project helps them access housing and welfare benefits, legal advice, healthcare, drug and alcohol services and specialist counselling. It also supports women to access employment, training, education, volunteering and sustainable employment.
The funders of the service - The Big Lottery, Charles Hayward Foundation and Hounslow council - have agreed to transfer funding to The Nia Project so that this vital service can continue. But the van that was used for night-time outreach work was seized by the administrator when Eaves closed down, so we need to raise the funds to buy a replacement.
Can you help us buy the van so that we can continue to reach women who want to leave prostitution - women who might not otherwise know that there is someone to help them?
If you can spare even £10, it would be a big help. For more information on Nia, visit our website at www.niaendingviolence.org.uk or talk to our CEO Karen Ingala Smith or chair Helen Lewis on Twitter.
You'll be helping us support women like Nicky:
Nicky came onto the LEA outreach van just after midnight. She seemed uneasy, but came on to the van to have a hot chocolate out of the wind and rain. Nicky said it was slow that night. The outreach night time worker explained the services that LEA could offer. Nicky left the van with condoms and sweets and the phonenumber for LEA, she did not give her contact number. Two weeks passed. Then, one lunch time, Nicky called the LEA number from a payphone and told us that she had been beaten up the night before and wanted to talk to someone. The LEA worker called the payphone back and arranged to meet Nicky in a café close to where she was. The LEA worker got to the café within the hour and waited a further 45 minutes. Nicky came in the the café and was wet and cold. Nicky wanted to talk about what had happened and was hungry and needed practical things. She hadn't had access to her medication in several weeks and was struggling with her mental health. Nicky came back to the service and got a warm coat and some food and was put in emergency accommodation that night. With Nicky's permission, the LEA worker contacted her mental health support services and ensured that she was able to access the support that she needed. The following day Nicky came back to LEA and told her story and said she wanted to get out. Nicky is still working with the LEA service to exit.