Friday, 8 June 2018

Success


2 years ago A Way Out celebrated the outcome of a successful grant application.  This specific funding supports our Blossom Service created from feedback and ideas shared by clients of our established and successful Liberty Service. Whilst grateful for the intensive and highly effective support we provide, these women shared a wish to have met A Way Out much earlier in their lives – BEFORE circumstances led to exploitation, destructive addictions and a chaotic existence…
 
Our Blossom service, born from these wishes, supports and advocates for today’s vulnerable and at risk younger women in our local area.   Blossom provides intervention and prevention support in their young lives NOW.

Our Blossom staff are a hard working team, dedicated to enabling and empowering young women to make real and lasting changes for a positive future.  We work alongside young women ensuring that they are not facing challenges alone, we share in their progress – celebrate with them in their victories and encourage them through disappointments.  Blossom is supported by trained volunteers who generously share their time to help facilitate our drop-in activities and outreach sessions.

Today we are celebrating another answer to prayer – a need uncovered by our intensive work with this younger group of women.  Young, lonely, isolated and vulnerable women with disabilities can be at particular risk of exploitation, however, thanks to the generous support of a local foundation we are now be able to offer these particular young women skilled, specialist one to one support as part of our Blossom service. 

We are currently recruiting to this specialist post  – take a look at our website for further details and where you will also find information about other ways you can support the work of A Way Out.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Trust


When a pet dog is chastised, the response can clearly show comprehension of something bad happening.  Without actually understanding the words used, the owner’s tone of voice and body language alone can convey frustration and perhaps even anger.   The dog may tremble and cower in response.  Unnecessary repeated scolding results in the pet becoming nervous, withdrawn, jumpy and anxious – trust is lost.

Imagine then, a child experiencing a figure that threatens, a figure that says “whatever happens must remain their little secret”; a child who, unlike the pet, does understand every hurtful word; a child who responds as – nervous, withdrawn, jumpy and anxious.  Trust is lost … and when this happens repeatedly the world becomes a lonely, fearful place.

At A Way Out distrust can be one of the first barriers to overcome.  We meet women whose childhood experience has shaped the rest of their lives and have sometimes led to entrenched harmful and risk-taking behaviours - trust placed in the numbing effect of alcohol or substance abuse.

The patient, non-judgmental approach of A Way Out enables our staff to gradually build up genuine, supportive relationships with clients.  We are there when things go right and still there when things go wrong, offering a consistent, caring, compassionate, professional support.  Clients trust us and have faith in all that A Way Out stands for.

Recently one grateful client commented, “Fear knocked at the door and faith answered”.


If you would like to know more about the work of this charity, would like to volunteer or offer financial support please go to www.awayout.co.uk or telephone 01642 655071

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Courage


One definition of the word courage describes “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain WITHOUT fear” – but surely isn’t real courage the ability to experience such danger or pain WITH fear, and still face it head on?

A Way Out is a courageous organisation – a charity that has stood the test of time for the past 16 years.

A Way Out has courageous workers who support clients when they are in danger and in pain; engaging, empowering  and equipping vulnerable women, families and young people to live lives free from harm, abuse and exploitation and to reduce life limiting choices and behaviour.

Fear is part of everyday life for A Way Out and for many third sector organisations – fear for future financial survival in an economy where funding opportunities are reduced and competition for remaining funding pots is high; fear of not being able to meet the needs of our clients when demands increase and capacity is stretched; fear for the very existence of our clients as they struggle with so many life limiting issues… yet A Way Out and our clients face that fear and with courage and continue to succeed.

Sir Winston Churchill once said that “courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” - this is A Way Out – intervention, prevention and  listening  - mustering courage and, through trust and relationship, instilling the same courage in those we seek to help.

Monday, 19 March 2018

At A Way Out We Support

At A Way Out we support our clients, be they women, young people or families – all year round – and we make sure that we celebrate with them landmarks in their progress – this could be a young mum gaining the self-esteem to confidently step outside of her own home and attend an appointment unaccompanied; a young person having the courage to forget their past and follow their dreams;  a young woman securing accommodation of her own and living independently; or a woman celebrating freedom from drug addiction.  Each milestone is a victory to rejoice in and a moment to be remembered.

It is often the small things that make a real difference to how someone can be feeling – whether they are struggling with a bad day, or excited over a personal victory.  Receiving an unexpected gift can be that one thing that makes a huge difference to their day.  Sometimes that gift can be as simple as being on the receiving end of a kind smile, a friendly nod and a simple ‘Hello’.

Being in the position to pass on a gift, especially when it is unexpected, is a real ‘feel good’ moment – both for the giver and the receiver.

Here’s a challenge to be that person who lifts the spirits of others, to be that person who offers a kindly smile and make a change someone’s day.

Each year at A Way Out we aim to collect around 200 donated chocolate eggs to gift our clients to help to lift their spirits at Easter and let them know that they are loved.  If you would like to help by contribute  an egg or make a donation towards the work of A Way Out please get in touch via our email info@awayout.co.uk or 01642 655071.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

International Women's Day


International Women’s Day this week is an opportunity for women to look back and celebrate all that we have achieved so far. It is also an excellent platform to use as a catalyst for further change and gender equality; to reach out and embrace womanhood across the globe and across the North East.

The theme this year is “Press for Progress” a call to action to press forward and progress gender parity.

At A Way Out we are very aware of the girls and women who struggle to realise their true potential. We are aware of the harm, trauma, sexual exploitation and abuse that many women experience and are still subjected to. We advocate, support and strive every day to empower women and girls enabling them to speak up, speak out, recover and realise their ambitions.

Over the next two weeks A Way Out staff and volunteers will be celebrating with the women and girls with whom we work in order to recognise women’s life journeys  and achievements made to date. We will take time out to recognise those who fought for our right to vote and will be showing the Suffragette film. The women with whom we work with will also be encouraged to recognise and celebrate their own achievements and accomplishments. We will be joining together to identify the work that is still left to be done to bring about true gender parity.

A Way Out will be delivering specially themed workshops focussing upon the issue of sexual exploitation and the learning from Operation Sanctuary.  The workshops will inform our local service delivery, alongside providing a safe space for women to share their own experiences and to galvanise collective action to bring an end to this exploitation.

A Way Out’s Staff, volunteers and clients will be joining in the movement to “press for progress”.

“The Story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem.



Monday, 19 February 2018

Team work...

Recently, our General Manager, Anita, attended a meeting with the fabulous focus of working in ‘UNITY’.  Church Leaders from the area discussed a collaborative approach to supporting the whole of the Tees Valley in what they called a ‘City Vision’.  It was truly exciting to share ideas around being united together, utilising and sharing individual and collective skills for the common good. 

‘Team work makes the dream work’, ‘alone we can do a little, together we can do much’ - it is this very team spirit that enables organisations such as A Way Out  to strive towards our aim; - to engage, empower and equip vulnerable and excluded women, families and young people to live lives free from harm, abuse and exploitation and to reduce life limiting choices and behaviour.

An issue faced by the women engaged with our Liberty and Blossom service is that of ISOLATION.  These women have had their trust in others stripped away as a result of their experiences of abuse and exploitation.  They can feel alone with a loss of strength and can struggle to find a vision of hope for their future.  Isolation can also be an issue for some of the young people we support through our Youth & Families Services.

A Way Out’s staff team , supported by our team of dedicated volunteers, work to deliver our aim through evening outreach, daytime drop-ins and group sessions – together in unity we enable life changing things to happen.  This teamwork enables and encourages our clients to rebuild their trust in others, to build up their own strength and to see their own positive life vision.

We are currently striving to recruit more volunteers for our Youth and Blossom Services if you or anyone you know of anyone who may be interested please ask that they get in touch with us or go to our website and download an application form.  All it takes to join our teams is a quick interview, 4 short training sessions and a DBS check!

Easter is fast approaching too and we will be collecting chocolate Easter Eggs to present to our clients - it would be great if you would consider donating an egg or two!!
 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Memories...

As we start 2018, A Way Out's General Manager, Anita, is reminiscing about dancing with TV star Ashley Banjo and the Street Dance group Diversity seem like a very distant memories; indeed the filming for the TV show took place way back in 2013!  The rehearsals were an unforgettable experience which provided excitement and a welcome energy boost; involvement also fuelled her passion for the town and people of Stockton on Tees. 

Taking part in the show 5 years ago proved that it is possible to achieve the unexpected. Anita never imagined that she would ever be street dancing with a professionals on national TV (especially only 6 months out of chemotherapy treatment) and she says that the experience opened her eyes to the potential life changing benefits of ‘stepping out’ of her comfort zone. 

At A Way Out we are continually impressed by the variety of people who support the work of our organisation.  Our outreach and prevention work, supporting some of the area’s most vulnerable women, families and young people, captures the hearts of people who genuinely wish to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others.
Supporters have stepped out in confidence to raise funds and donations for A Way Out – like Freya, a young girl from a local school who rallied her classmates to buy homemade cookies; or Ivy who regularly encourages her keep fit class members to donate gifts for our clients; or Steve who, after 18 years of 6th Form teaching, chose to challenge colleagues to donate food for our food parcels in lieu of a leaving gift; or staff from local industry who fundraised for us for a whole 12 months. 
The delivery of our services to women involved in the night time economy of Stockton and also our work with local young people could not happen without the valuable time and effort of our fantastic team of volunteers.  We are currently looking to add to this wonderful group of people.  If you wish to make 2018 the year that you step out to make a difference in the lives of others, please get in touch via info@awayout.co.uk or 01642 655071.
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