Our Community Impact award recognises Charity Bank borrowers that have made a significant positive impact on their local community or the community they serve through the work they do.
The Young Women’s Housing Project (YWHP) began in 1988 as an offshoot of the Sheffield Rape Crisis Service after they noted an increase in referrals of girls and young women where the initial need was safe and secure housing, often as result of sexual abuse at home. The Local Council provided funding to run a two-bed flat that could act as accommodation for this primary purpose and the YWHP was born.
Since then, it has steadily grown and developed its mission to provide not only a safe place to live but emotional support and practical help to young women who have been affected by sexual abuse and exploitation.
The YWHP currently operates supported accommodation, which can house thirteen young women and their children, partnered with a range of complementary therapeutic services. It also offers outreach services to those who don’t require accommodation but who would benefit from the YWHP’s specialist therapeutic support.
The key to the YWHP’s successful impact is the close-knit team who deliver person-centred support tailored to each individual’s experiences and needs. As one of the only specialist services in the UK offering this, the YWHP provides a crucial foundation for girls and young women to recover and build confidence, resilience and life skills.
Over the last three years, the YWHP has worked with an average of 32 young women and 30 children each year across its supported accommodation. Its outreach services have rapidly expanded, increasing by almost 100% from 15 young women in the 2015-16 period to 28 young women in the 2017-18 period.
Supported accommodation is offered for a flexible time period of up to 18 months. This is followed by a range of assistance and continued access to therapeutic services in order to continue their progress in a more independent environment. The YWHP has achieved a 98% positive ‘move on’ rate in helping the young women from its project successfully make this transition.
Over the past few years, the charity has been focusing on the development and refinement of its services. In addition to its core support workers who specialise in areas such as the Parents as First Teachers programme and sexual health, the team has expanded to include a dance/movement psychotherapist and a person-centred counsellor. The young women have responded very positively to these additional services and the YWHP will continue this development.
It will also carry on building connections with other organisations to expand its outreach services. Partnerships such as ones with the Women and Girls’ Initiative and Sheffield Area Refuges will allow the charity to provide its unique set of therapeutic support services to more young women across the UK.
A Charity Bank loan enabled YWHP to purchase the building housing its main supported accommodation and offices in Sheffield.