Bishop Rachel supports vulnerable women

Pic shows Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, in the garden of her residence in the city.

The Diocese of Gloucester is providing housing to support the most vulnerable women in our society.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Rachel Treweek, has been developing a partnership with The Nelson Trust1 a charity that runs an award winning Women’s Centre in Gloucester, recently visited by the Duchess of Cambridge. It works with the most disadvantaged women in our communities, offering both practical and emotional support.

The three bedroomed house will provide a safe home for women who have had traumatic life experience, including being victims of violent crime, domestic abuse, substance misuse, mental health difficulties and potential contact with the criminal justice system, including being in prison. It is estimated that over a year up to 12 women and their children will benefit from this home.

Bishop Rachel said, “This house is one small example of engaging with people’s lives, often in places of deep brokenness, as we seek to live out Jesus Christ’s love and hope. It is my hope that this house will enable women and children to discover new possibilities and become the people they have been created to be. ”

It is envisaged that the house will be used as part of The Nelson Trust Re-Unite Project, which enables mothers to be reunited with their children after serving a prison sentence. Accommodation is fundamental to achieving a reduction in re-offending. Failure to provide suitable housing to women released from prison leads to more crime, more victims and more unnecessary and costly imprisonment.

Niki Gould, Head of Women’s Community Services said, “We are very grateful to Bishop Rachel and the Diocese of Gloucester for this life-changing support.  It is clear that housing issues are a key challenge for the women we support and often mothers leaving prison are caught in a debilitating life-cycle. Due to a lack of suitable housing our women experience terrible catch-22 situations when trying to be re-united with their children.  It’s a big issue in Gloucestershire and with the help of Bishop Rachel, one that we can now focus on. As a result of this intensive support some of the most vulnerable women in Gloucestershire will build a more stable life for themselves and their children.”

The Nelson Trust will also be one of the recipients of funds raised through episcopal collections, (services led by Bishop Rachel or Bishop Robert). The money raised will go to The Nelson Trust to support them in their vital one-to-one support for women and their children to break the intergenerational cycle of trauma and abuse.

Notes to Editors

1The Nelson Trust – Women’s Community Services

The Dutchess of Cambridge meets a lady and her son at the Nelson TrustAn award winning charity, The Nelson Trust was established in 1985 in Brimscombe, near Stroud.  They have helped thousands of people to recover from addiction, to re-build an independent fulfilling life and re-join the community.  The charity offers an abstinence-based, residential rehabilitation programme, which offers therapeutic support and practical help with housing, education, training and employment.

The Nelson Trust opened a women’s residential service in 2004 to help women with complex, multiple needs. Moreover, in 2010, The Nelson Trust developed gender-responsive community services and established an Award Winning Women’s Centre in Gloucester, which offers holistic support based on a relational, trauma-informed approach.  The centre offers both practical and emotional support across the nine pathways of need including housing; finances; physical, emotional and mental health; drugs and alcohol; trauma and abuse; sexual exploitation and sex working; attitudes, thinking and behaviour; education and training and families and relationships. In 2013, a Nelson Trust Women’s Centre was opened in Swindon, covering the Wiltshire area.

In addition to treatment, clients have access to our accredited Adult Education Centre, practical, creative, life skills workshops, and voluntary work, which equip them for independent living free of substance misuse.

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