Our approach and impact
Anawim brings people together from a range of communities and backgrounds to help women understand the impact of their trauma, and to begin the healing process by overcoming obstacles and learning how to move forward to a brighter future for themselves and their families.
Not only do we provide a tailored package of support for women through a variety of interventions, but our caseworkers also understand how to deal with the complexities involved in helping women find work, improve their wellbeing, resolve health issues or access the services they need.
No matter how women find us, each is able to access the same level of support through one to one interventions, courses, counselling and opportunities – all highlighted on this page.
How our services work
All of our women have multiple and complex needs which can be addressed through our wide variety of services and specialised caseworkers with extensive experience.
On average women present with at least five needs at the point of referral, and often during the course of her Anawim journey she will disclose more needs as we build trust and create a safe space for her to share.
All of our services overlap and we utilise all of our resources to ensure that each and every woman receives a package of support tailored to her specific needs. Anawim walks with each woman through her challenges, to overcome her barriers, whatever they may be.
Whilst other organisations in Birmingham are offering support for women, Anawim’s offer is all in one location, based on Baroness Jean Corston’s model of a ‘one-stop shop’ approach, reducing barriers to access and giving women the best chance of success.
How we help women
Here are some of the ways that we are helping women to recover from physical and emotional conditions, which are connected with addiction, homelessness, abuse, exploitation, involvement with the criminal justice system and unemployment.
At Anawim, we equip our caseworkers with the flexibility to fully support women. We know that one to one support is vital for women to work through multiple and complex needs.
Women face a multitude of barriers and each woman has her own set of unique challenges to overcome. Our case management model focuses on meeting women’s needs in the context of a structured plan involving intensive interventions with clear timeframes and objectives.
Anawim’s services are both trauma and gender responsive, meaning that we ensure our women’s past experiences are at the heart of our approach and that challenges unique to women are factored into every woman’s support provision. Through case management, we develop trusting relationships with our women and create space for women to share their experiences, fears, hopes and dreams with us so that together, we can change their lives.
All women have access to free counselling onsite with one of our dedicated volunteer counsellors. The lasting consequences of abuse and trauma can be devastating. Even decades later women can struggle to come to terms with their experiences.
Having a safe space to talk and feel heard with a trusted and professional counsellor is essential for recovery. Our counsellors help women along their journeys to self-discovery, healing, enhancing and in some cases even saving lives.
Over the past year, we have been able to deliver more than 1200 counselling sessions to more than 130 women.
“Undiscovered or buried feelings are brought to the surface and people with certain addictions or mental health issues can benefit greatly from being able to express painful feelings to a person who is totally neutral, unbiased and non-judgemental, but can ask the right questions tactfully and with compassion and empathy.”
Anawim offers a variety of courses and one to one sessions, ranging from employability and financial literacy through to numeracy, reading and writing. We also have courses designed to promote independence and increase self-esteem such as confidence building, mindfulness, art therapy, parenting and healthy relationships.
Reassurance that course participation is a choice is liberating and empowering for women who may have been involved with the criminal justice system or abusive relationships. Learning in a group setting offers invaluable opportunities to develop listening skills, the ability to regulate emotions, constructively share experiences, confront challenges and accommodate other people’s discomfort.
Anawim’s therapeutic psychologist-led courses which address deep trauma are designed to identify and understand psychological, emotional and physical symptoms and how they are related to women’s individual experiences.
REDD (Regulating Emotions and Dealing with Distress) and TREM (Trauma, Recovery and Empowerment Model) both provide women with an opportunity to explore their sense of self and pathways to healing in a trusted, safe and reflective group setting.
“Doing many personal development courses has helped me grow as a person. I accept I cannot change others but I can change me. I can find my strengths and I can develop my weaknesses.” – Kylisha*
Anawim provides a unique style of onsite accommodation for women who have recently left prison and are transitioning back into the community. We offer six beds for women to stay in and benefit from the richness of our Women’s Centre whilst receiving one to one caseworker provision in a safe and supported environment.
Dawn House is continuously evolving as we deepen our understanding of the nature of operating accommodation for women with multiple and complex needs who also have a history of offending behaviour.
The overall aim remains to promote independence by developing confidence, skills and addressing criminal behaviour. We will continue to support women when they leave Dawn House for as long as they need us, ensuring that our women are equipped with everything they need to thrive independently in their own accommodation.
We know that this step can be incredibly overwhelming for our women and we encourage self-care and prepare women to manage emotions or potential triggers which could lead to reoffending.
“Stable accommodation is a critical need for this cohort to reduce this risk and support them to gain employment or training, but this is often not available to them”
Dependency and Recovery
All of our caseworkers are able to work with women who are dealing with addiction and address the root causes through support to access GP appointments and rehabilitation services. Women are able to access trauma and emotional resilience courses, and caseworkers support women to build up self-esteem and break free from addictions.
Domestic Abuse Support
Domestic abuse support covers historic and current abuse, including violence, financial and emotional abuse, coercive control, identifying abusive behaviour and unhealthy relationships. Where necessary, we support our women to report perpetrators to the police and leave abusive relationships as well as access safe accommodation for themselves and their children.
In 2019, 43% of women we supported disclosed current or historic experiences of domestic abuse. 60% of these women also had children.
Get support here.
We offer drop-in services at our Women’s Centre in Balsall Heath and at the Dolphin Centre in Washwood Heath, for any woman experiencing challenges and in need of confidential, non-judgmental advice and guidance with emotional or practical matters.
Through our drop-in services, women can also access food parcels, toiletries, sanitary products and clothes if needed. In addition to this, we offer a Women’s Health drop in, and a Housing drop in, both based at Anawim in Balsall Heath. Find out more about our drop in here.
In 2019, we found that the main reasons for women accessing our drop-in services were due to mental health, finance problems, accommodation and domestic violence.
Early Intervention and Police Diversion
New Chance is aimed at women who have committed first time or low-level offending, diverting them away from the criminal justice system and reducing the risk of reoffending, as well as reducing local crime and increasing community safety.
Delivered in partnership with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, this project has grown from strength to strength, overachieving on its targets, and developing an essential service that has the potential to transform lives. Due to its success in Birmingham and the Black Country it is now being rolled out across the West Midlands.
Moving forward, New Chance is adapting to include victims of domestic violence who, prior to their arrest, may not have a history of offending behaviour, or women who have committed low level crimes and would benefit greatly from our specialised intervention.
Along with our family support, drop-in services and early intervention criminal justice solutions, all of Anawim’s projects play a part in early intervention and prevention.
Anawim’s Liaison and Diversion team is a partnership with practitioners from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. This award-winning service involves Support, Time and Recovery Workers and Peer Mentors working together to provide an effective support system.
Women identified for specialised mental health support after an arrest are referred to Anawim’s 12-week programme, which can lead on to a longer, more intensive plan if required. The team also aims to improve liaison between the criminal justice system and health and social care agencies.
Employability Skills Opportunities
Our employability skills sessions offer a range of options from one to one to group settings and work experience opportunities for all women coming towards the end of their journeys with Anawim. It’s part of our new Women’s Development Initiative that sees women take on catering and cleaning roles, develop their business skills and have customer service experience. They can also pursue gardening and decorating opportunities at the centre.
Finance, Benefits and Debt
All caseworkers support women with money advice, debt management, access to benefits and financial literacy. This helps women become better able to budget and manage money responsibly to ensure basic needs for themselves and their children are met, reducing dependency on benefits, increasing independence and freedom for women who may have been financially abused in relationships. This helps women to feel better able to confront debt, reducing the risk of poor mental health and having to resort to adverse coping strategies such as alcohol misuse, self-harm or suicide ideation.
Helpline and Live Chat
In light of the recent rise in domestic violence, mental health issues and other complex needs due to Covid-19, we have created a new service aimed at women who are not currently Anawim clients and may not be accessing any services.
Anawim’s Women Talking Together Helpline (0800 019 8818) is now open Monday to Friday, from 10am-6pm, for any woman who is feeling unsure and worried about how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting their mental health, relationships and families, finances and changes to working life, housing issues or anything else.
If they are concerned about changes to their relationship or worried about their well-being around other people in their homes, we are offering confidential and non-judgemental support. Anawim’s female specialist workers are available to discuss any or all of their worries. Our live chat support service is also accessible here.
Our Housing Officer is available to assist with more specific accommodation needs for anyone who is struggling to sustain a tenancy, access safe housing or navigate complex housing applications. We have good links with local housing providers and other organisations working together to support domestic violence and homelessness.
Solving housing problems can be difficult for women with complex issues, as many organisations now use online systems that women without a phone or internet access can’t tap into. There are many other major barriers for women, such as lack of confidence, time, social skills or language skills, as well as the presence of fear, learning disabilities, illiteracy and personality disorders.
To combat this, we can support women with debt and arrears issues through our drop-in service – whether it is helping women improve their understanding of financial matters; supporting them into getting a job or ensuring that any owed benefits are claimed in order to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness.
Anawim’s mental health support is both preventative and reactive. Usually a local GP is the gateway for women seeking help with mental health difficulties, however this is only available at set times and these services are extremely stretched in the current climate.
Cuts to local mental health services have seen the number of complex mental health referrals soar in recent years – highlighting an urgent need for more holistic services to support the ever increasing need. At the moment, 75% of all the women we are supporting have mental health needs – it is the most common need that women present with.
Our Blended Service at Ardenleigh Forensic Unit offers gender specific and sensitive treatment through enrichment activities, one to one casework, peer support and family liaison support for women from the West Midlands who are detained under the Mental Health Act and have a history of actual or potential harm to other people.
Funded by NHS England and working in partnership with Ardenleigh Secure Women’s Service, we aim to reduce the length of the patient’s stay in hospital and introduce rehabilitative support, enabling women to reintegrate back into the community.
As well as ensuring that the service is trauma-responsive, we offer peer mentoring opportunities, facilitate group training around how to manage finances, cooking, life skills, social engagement and a programme of co-designed out-of-hours enrichment activities.
We try to keep women closer to home and their supporting family networks where possible and offer family therapy. Ensuring the wellbeing of staff is also a priority, whilst the team work together to support women.
Anawim started as an outreach project and it has remained a core service to this day. Sometimes it’s the only way to connect with women involved in sex work or street homelessness. Monthly homeless outreach takes place in Birmingham city centre, providing supplies and signposting to our drop in for further advice and guidance.
Homeless women are extremely vulnerable to rape and sexual assault, substance abuse, exploitation or trafficking. As a result, women sleeping rough tend to be ‘hidden’, so it is vital that a women’s only service is available for advice and guidance.
From working with those involved in prostitution for over 30 years, we are all too aware that it is often closely connected with other complex issues including drug addiction, homelessness, coercive control or financial abuse, so a holistic approach is vital to ensure that women can get the right support.
Prison In reach
Anawim regularly visits women in HMP Foston Hall and HMP Drake Hall, to build relationships with them, to address their offending behaviour, and to identify women who might be able to stay at Dawn House following release.
For some of our women in prison it’s the first time anybody has listened to their story and the first time anyone has acknowledged that past trauma has played a role in their current situation. This helps women to have hope, to see that they can have a life after prison and that there are options for everyone to make positive progress. It supports women ‘through the gate’, and helps them to thrive in the community after prison.
We also have three Enrichment Workers in the CAMEO unit at HMP Foston Hall providing specialised therapeutic workshops for women with personality disorders, understanding how mental health contributes to offending behaviour, and supporting with challenges in prison. Therapeutic activities are provided for women in the evenings and at weekends when women are most vulnerable after having worked through deep trauma. This work is significantly reducing incidents of self-harm within the prison.
Anawim used to offer Alternatives to Custody – a project which enabled women on license, community orders or suspended sentences to complete their sentences in the community at Anawim as opposed to prison. For women who have a history of offending and experience of custody or prison, we provided rehabilitative alternatives to custody at our centre, enabling women to remain in their homes, keep their lives together and address the deeper and more complex issues which had driven them to offend.
Unfortunately without funding we can no longer provide this service – but we would love to restart it as we have good evidence to show how effective it has been in reducing reoffending and increasing community safety through the reduction of crime.
Whether it is support to overcome historic abuse, or support with a current situation, women can access specialised advice and guidance through our Sexual Violence caseworker. We support women with a broad range of issues and can also help to report incidents to the police.
Sexual exploitation is unfortunately very common and disguised by unhealthy relationships, coercive control and hidden within prostitution. Anawim provides access to sexual health services as well as counselling for trauma, and support to resolve other issues which have arisen in connection with sexual trauma. Read more about our sexual trauma services here
Anawim has a safeguarding policy in place and disclosure checks are carried out on all staff and volunteers working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.
Staff regularly feedback information on each woman and any involved children, as well as any additional safeguarding concerns including any reports of domestic abuse and mental health challenges. This includes if any Safe and Well checks have been conducted or any referrals made to Social Services, as well as any significant updates.
The Safeguarding Team meets weekly to go over this information, feedback to caseworkers and review incidents that have occurred in the week. Our Safeguarding Team and staff all receive appropriate training and we deliver an in-house Level 1 and Level 2 safeguarding course for all staff.
Dawn House safeguarding procedures differ slightly as clients are residential, however Anawim’s usual safeguarding procedures are followed if any major concerns or incidents arise. As women are still on license while residing in Dawn House, any concerns are also shared with their Probation Officer and if necessary the Police. We also do not allow children in Dawn House.
Safeguarding concerns around substance misuse are dealt with in conjunction with women’s caseworkers from supporting agencies, and mental health issues are supported by community mental health teams.
Safeguarding during Coronavirus
We currently have a very strict cleaning regime to keep Dawn House as clean as possible, minimising the risk of contamination, which includes regularly disinfecting all surfaces, door handles, light switches, work surfaces, floors and any other areas of the residential which are commonly used.
Where concerns have arisen so far, we have ensured both staff and clients go into self-isolation as per government guidance. Dawn House staff have taken extra care to ensure safety and social distancing is practised at home as well as at Anawim, again to minimise the risk of contamination in Dawn House.
We are adapting our safeguarding policies as the situation develops and in line with government guidelines. A new safeguarding policy has been created to be used during this time, as well as a safeguarding policy around the new helpline and live chat.
Support With Families, Parenting and Relationships
Anawim’s Family Support service offers one to one casework with parenting, pregnancy, families and relationships, advocating at case conferences and family court.
All women have access to healthy relationships courses, post adoption courses, and Anawim can facilitate supervised contact between mother and child in the on-site creche, which in the past has been used as day care for children while women attend courses. Currently 44% of our women have children, 30% of whom have 2 or more children.
Social Inclusion and Women’s Involvement
As a physical centre, Anawim facilitates the development of positive social connections through mixed courses, work experience and encouraging employability skills learning and progression. As well as providing the opportunity to be on interview panels, peer mentoring roles and ambassador roles, we offer opportunities for our women to share their stories as part of events, research projects, lobbying and policy campaigning.