Evie works at The Nelson Trust’s Women’s Centre in Bristol. Evie’s team specifically work with women experiencing or at risk of homelessness, many of whom are rough sleeping. A large part of the support they offer is to speak with the local Council to get women housed. In February, Evie’s team applied for a Training Fund grant from St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity to allow them to attend Domestic Abuse and Housing training provided by Shelter.
This training was relevant for Evie and her team because of the strong correlation between experience of domestic violence and experience of homelessness for women.
“One of the number one things that our women experience is, when they are experiencing homelessness, it's also interlinked with domestic abuse. I felt that with the passing of the Domestic Abuse Act in 2021, there was definitely a need for me to know more about how housing and homelessness and domestic abuse interlink in a legal sense, so that we as a center can better support women going through both.”
The training was incredibly beneficial for the team. It provided both theoretical and practical guidance – from information on the Domestic Abuse Act to tips on how to advocate on behalf of women presenting to their Council as homeless.
“It was really beneficial. It was very practical things that you can do when you're working with women. I think that's what we really wanted. There were things about support techniques on how to work with women when they're going through domestic abuse, also things about how to work with women when the local authority aren't responding to you and different ways to escalate that.”
The team being able to attend the training has directly benefited the women they work with. The new knowledge and skills has equipped Evie and her colleagues to better support the women out of homelessness.
“By key workers advocating and challenging what councils are saying, from the resources and techniques we learned in the training, that's directly having a positive impact for women because they're having their housing cases looked at again, in some cases overturned. In some cases, they're being housed.”
Evie has been able to utilize the training to improve the skills of new staff members at The Nelson Trust, too.
“From that training, I then developed my own accommodation training that I held again to the team. We've had new starters who weren't on the training, so I've managed to use the resources to further train the team, which has been really useful.”
The grant from St Martin’s Training Fund has unlocked a new set of knowledge and skills for Evie and her team, which the organisation will continue to use going forwards to better support the women they work with into housing.
If you are a frontline worker or team and have identified a training course that will help you in your current work with people experiencing homelessness, but your organisation is not able to fund it, we may be able to help. Individuals can apply for up to £500 to cover the cost of training and groups can apply for up to £1,500.