WomenCentre has been a pioneer in work with women that is gender-specific, community-based, and operates on a ‘no wrong door’ model of not knocking people back because the nature and complexity of need are not what one service is specifically designed or funded to deal with. It provides a safe environment for all women and girls, including those who have experienced abuse, disadvantage, poor mental health and loss, and supports women in crisis who cannot articulate or package the reality of their lives or their needs in ways which fit the thresholds or assessment criteria of other agencies.
Lankelly Chase is funding WomenCentre to promote learning, good practice and effective approaches for women facing severe and multiple disadvantage, with a view to establishing a widespread, high level and strategic approach to women’s distinct needs. WomenCentre’s message is that women’s experiences are different from men’s, but this is not accounted for in existing policy and practice; even the ‘multiple needs’ agenda has tended to evolve in a way which excludes women whose disadvantages are less obvious and don’t come to light in the same way that men’s do. WomenCentre’s work is focused on working with women in a responsive and personalised way, sometimes on an intensive basis, enabling them to build identity, choice, resilience and independence.
Led by Clare Jones CBE, WomenCentre is working to develop a new narrative which makes the case for women-centred solutions as best practice rather than a rarity, including demonstrating and promoting examples of good practice and effective commissioning. Research is also underway on the cost-effectiveness of these approaches, as well as the critical elements of success that can be helpful in other areas and contexts across the country.
For more information: www.womencentre.org.uk