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Pioneering project will continue to support vulnerable women in Gloucestershire


The ‘Vulnerable Women with Complex Needs’ project has been extended by 12 months, and will continue to support women who have experienced significant trauma to break the cycle and make sustainable, positive changes in their lives.


The project, which was set up in March 2018, is informed by Gloucestershire’s pioneering work on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) which found that experiencing specific traumatic events as a child can lead to intense stress and a greater risk of health, educational and or social problems in later life.

It provides support for women who have experienced significant trauma in their lives, leading to issues such as homelessness, involvement in crime, sex working, drug and alcohol addiction, as well as difficulty in maintaining relationships and looking after their children.

Each woman is provided with a key worker who supports them practically and emotionally to address their individual issues, as well as supporting them with training and activities to increase their employment prospects. Support is provided through a variety of methods such as one to one support sessions, group sessions, access to personal care, health and laundry services, and a dedicated outreach service.

Support is delivered by the Women’s Centre of Gloucestershire based charity The Nelson Trust, and jointly commissioned by Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucester City Council, Gloucester City Homes, the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner and the NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children's Safeguarding and Early Years at Gloucestershire County Council, said, “It’s great news that this project has been extended for a further year. The project provides extremely valuable support that can make a real positive difference to the lives of women who have experienced trauma, as well as their children and families. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment”.  

Jolene Fear, manager of Gloucester Women’s Centre, said: “This project has been an exciting opportunity for us to offer an intensive model of support to some of Gloucester’s most vulnerable women.  We have seen some incredible life changes and achievements made by the clients through the trusting and empowering relationships they have built with their key workers.  We will always believe that change is possible.  We’re delighted to have received the investment in our service and the creative joined up commissioning from all involved in funding this project.”

Gloucester City Councillor Jennie Watkins, Cabinet member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “The women that have been helped by this project have suffered terrible trauma in their lives which many of us may struggle to imagine. Understandably, they have faced real challenges as adults and need a helping hand to support them on a different path. This different way of working has shown better results for the women and children and has saved costs. Extending the scheme will significantly increase the quality of more women’s lives, and their children’s, so the impact really is immeasurable and I’d like to thank the commissioning partners and the Nelson Trust for their commitment.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire Martin Surl said, “These are women who, because of a chaotic and often criminal lifestyle, have continued to suffer because of the revolving door syndrome of services which had failed them. There are a number of ways to measure the success of this project, but the real benefit is the effect on the lives of individuals, their families and their communities”.

Anita Pope, Director of Housing and Communities at Gloucester City Homes said, “As a community-based housing provider GCH supports some of the most vulnerable residents and communities in Gloucester and we are committed to supporting women and families who have experienced significant trauma. Working with our community partners we are pleased to be able to continue funding this intensive and invaluable programme which is making such a difference to people lives.”

Mary Hutton, ICS Lead/Accountable Officer at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are really pleased to support the extension of this project by a further year. The positive connections that women make and the support they receive really can be life changing. At the present time, the effects of the pandemic such as isolation and health worries make this service more valuable than ever.”

The project is currently able to support 20 women at any given time.

For more information on The Nelson Trust, visit:

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