Our first year-round shelter - The Manse House - opened in July 2019. Based in a four-bedroom house in Hackney with a lovely garden, this unique shelter provides accommodation and support for up to ten women at any one time.
The project is being run as a pilot for 12 months, part funded by the GLA Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation fund with match funding provided by Hackney Doorways.
Since opening we have welcomed 28 women, 19 of whom have moved on to steady, long term accommodation. Guests can stay in the house for three months at a time and as they rebuild their lives. The foundation of a warm, stable and nurturing home has been invaluable.
While staying at the house, women can register with a GP, take regular English lessons and get involved with activities like arts and gardening. Our dedicated Women's Advocate worker can help with the necessary legal and administrative tasks involved with getting them back on their feet. This combination has brought about significant positive impacts on mental and physical health, as observed by staff, volunteers and the women themselves.
At the start of the coronavirus emergency we took advice and put in place systems for keeping guests and volunteers safe. In recent months, the house has provided a safe place for five women to stay during lockdown.
The Manse was set up as a pilot project for 12 months, to July 2020. We have carried out an evaluation of the project with a view to securing future funding and planning ahead. An independent external evaluator held interviews with past and current guests as well as focus groups with volunteers. We look forward to sharing the results of the evaluation.
Despite challenging times, the generosity of our supporters has given us cause for thanks. We are extremely grateful to Morrisons Foundation for a recent grant towards our women’s shelter.