Refuge wins national recognition

A refuge has received national recognition for its specialist support to women and their families from the South Asian community, after being shortlisted for an award.

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The South Asian Women’s Refuge (SAWR) was set up by leading housing provider Stonewater to offer a vital lifeline for some of society’s most marginalised women and their children – people who often have no recourse to public funds and nowhere else to turn.

Far more than providing a roof over families’ heads, the refuge offers a coordinated range of culturally sensitive services. These support customers – who may have experienced physical, psychological and sexual abuse – to heal their wounds, build their self-confidence, develop their independence and empower them to live happy, fulfilling lives within the wider community.

Need for this service is evidenced by the high demand and, sadly, on average, Stonewater can only accept a third of all referrals due to limited space. The refuge has 11 spaces for women, with capacity for up to 10 children between the ages of birth to 14 years. However, as part of its wider mission of giving everyone the opportunity to have a place that they can call home, Stonewater has used its experience and expertise to deliver training to other organisations.

The organisation’s hard work has not gone unnoticed and it has now been shortlisted in the best supported housing landlord category at this year’s UK Housing Awards (UKHA), with the ceremony taking place on 7 May 2020.

Last year, the refuge was shortlisted in the Homeless Link Excellence Awards for ‘Innovation in housing’ and won the Women in Housing ‘Improving the lives of women or communities’ award.

Helena Doyle, Head of Supported Housing at Stonewater, said: “We have supported 22 families since January 2019, some of which we have successfully moved on, been resettled and continue to receive ongoing support. In addition to this, we have managed to retain funding from Bedfordshire County Council for the service and despite a tough financial and political climate, we have also managed to carry out a £30,000 refurbishment on the building to create a therapy room for the women and play room for their children.

“We rarely take a moment to look back and think about everything we have managed to achieve at the refuge, but our colleagues work tirelessly to help make a difference and so it’s wonderful to receive national recognition and be shortlisted for this award.”

For more information about Stonewater’s supported housing, see here or contact the customer care team on 01202 319 119.

Stonewater has also been shortlisted in the campaign of the year: housing association, homebuilder of the year and inclusivity and diversity pioneer categories at the UKHA.