Stonewater scoops award for lockdown domestic abuse service

A housing provider’s portfolio of innovative schemes to help people fleeing domestic abuse during the coronavirus crisis has scooped a national award for its potentially life-saving work.

2020 Awards Logo Winner Green

Specialist supported housing provider Stonewater won this year’s Homeless Link Excellence Award for ‘Innovation in Housing’.

The award recognises the Extended Domestic Abuse Service Stonewater launched to help the rising number of people seeking such support during the pandemic.

Stonewater manages three dedicated domestic abuse services for people who would traditionally find it difficult to access support and housing, which includes providing supported housing for South Asian women and children, women with complex needs, a community outreach support programme and an LGBTQ+ Safe Space.

When Covid-19 hit, the team took immediate action to increase their capacity to accept new customers, providing them with a safe space to live and person-centred support.

Stonewater used empty homes from its general needs stock to house additional referrals and harnessed technology to provide virtual support during lockdown from its team of Domestic Abuse Coaches.

This included giving computer tablets to all new and existing customers and their children, so they could access online communication channels, information and educational resources.

Andrew King, Head of Supported Living at Stonewater, said: “Lockdown restrictions led to a rise in demand for domestic abuse services but also led to challenges in providing such housing and support.

“We are really proud of this initiative. At a time when other social housing providers were closing their doors to new lettings and people in need of accommodation and support, we utilised our resources to open our doors further.

“So I am delighted that our team’s hard work during this national crisis has been recognised by the award judges.”

Homeless Link's annual awards scheme celebrates the best of the homelessness and supported housing sectors. This year it focused on highlighting such services’ contributions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive at Homeless Link, comments: “2020 has been a very difficult year for many, but particularly for people who have no place to call home. Homelessness services have risen to each new challenge, adapting and innovating to ensure that the people they work with have been kept safe and supported at this unprecedented time.

“We were delighted to be able to name Stonewater as one of our award winners. It is important that their truly exceptional work is recognised and that it is enabled to continue throughout the pandemic beyond, helping to end homelessness for good.”

Stonewater is committed to providing accommodation and housing support for people experiencing domestic abuse so they can have a safe place to stay and receive specialist support.

The housing provider does currently have additional bed spaces at its LGBTQ+ Safe Space. For more information about referrals, visit Stonewater’s website.