A programme working to support and improve life chances for some of Bristol’s most vulnerable citizens is set to continue after early success.
One25, a St Paul’s-based charity that works with street sex workers, leads the pioneering pilot scheme, which aims to break the traumatic cycle in which children are removed from their mothers and placed in care.
Of the 23 women Pause Bristol is currently working with, 100 per cent had experienced domestic abuse, 65 per cent struggle with substance misuse and 91 per cent have mental health needs.
But in the last 18 months; the charity reports that three have got jobs; five are in education, training or searching for jobs and five are no longer street homeless.
Speaking about the work of the programme, Anna Smith, CEO of One25, says: “Bristol needs Pause. The city, sadly, has a high number of women who have had children permanently removed.
“Often, these women face significant disadvantages which make motherhood especially challenging for them.
“What I have seen with the Pause pilot is women beginning to feel valued, building confidence and self-esteem so that they can start taking control of their lives and engage in the services they need. We look forward to the next 18-month phase.”
The programme has received £460,000 funding from the council to continue its work. Those behind the pilot estimate that Pause has already saved more than £1,060,000 in the cost of putting children into care.
Helen Godwin, Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for women, children and families, said: “The mayor and I have seen first-hand the positive impact Pause has had on the lives of these women in a short period of time.
“The outcomes we have seen for those women show a real transformation that offers them greater opportunity to lead healthy and happy lives.
“There is also a wider benefit with a decreased need for health and social care service interventions.
“This funding will sustain the project until May 2020 and will also provide the programme with opportunities to seek alternative funding from more sustainable sources and continue the excellent work they are doing in Bristol.”
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