The First Step to Independent Living is a structured support programme designed for women aged 16-25 as they are about to leave supported accommodation (refuge, family home, mother and baby respite etc.). This programme will last 12 weeks and will be tailored to meet the needs of each service-user. The service-user would be required to sign up, and dates and times would be arranged. Each support ‘visit’ will last one hour, with 24-hour telephone support available outside of these appointments.
Mission Statement ‘First Step’ aims to provide continued support to women, aged 16-25, and their children, after leaving supported accommodation, in order to enable them to sustain accommodation, maximise opportunities and enhance life choices, developing life skills which in turn will enhance their life chances.
First Step will incorporate 1:1 individualised, person-centred support, working through their tailored ‘First Step Package’. Qualified teaching and support staff will offer training, and when limitations are reached they will then direct service-users towards appropriate agencies and educational establishments. Equally, staff will offer an advocacy and assistance service for anyone requiring support whilst accessing other services or attending appointments. WVWA will encourage attendance to the in-house support groups as well as creating mentoring/’buddying’ opportunities where possible.
Areas within which staff will offer support through the ‘First Step’ programme:
- Managing debt
- Securing appropriate and necessary insurance
- Maximising benefit entitlement
- Managing household bills
- Prevention of repeat homelessness
- Basic ‘home-making’ skills e.g. upkeep and maintenance, food preparation etc.
- Improving confidence and self-esteem
- Making positive choices
- Understanding rights and responsibilities
- Exploring opportunities for education and training
- Accessing employment services
- Planning for the future
- Safety planning, personal risk assessment and developing strategies for managing and minimising risk
- Personal safety skills to prevent repeat victimisation
- staff will also provide advice and practical support prior to and during prosecution of perpetrator
You can refer yourself to the programme by contacting us. We also accept referrals from social workers or other support workers. The programme is voluntary. No personal information would be shared with any outside agency without prior consent.