Hibiscus Initiatives is delighted to announce that it has been awarded five year funding by the Big Lottery Fund under the Women and Girls’ Initiative, to set up a one-stop shop for marginalised foreign national, migrant and black and minority ethnic women affected by the criminal justice and immigration systems. The Hub will be a unique women-only, safe, welcoming space where the women can access a range of services under one roof, including casework, education, training, bespoke workshops and legal clinics.
Hibiscus Initiatives will continue to develop holistic, women-centred services through this Hub and the women themselves will be involved in shaping the services offered. The Hub will also promote co-ordinated, joined-up services by involving partner agencies in providing specialist immigration, health, housing, finance and counselling services.
The aim of the Hub is to provide emotional and practical support and advocacy, to foster a sense of belonging in the women and reduce their marginalisation and sense of isolation.
Adrienne Darragh, Chief Executive of Hibiscus says:
“These are challenging times for women’s organisations working in the Criminal Justice Sector. We are very excited to be part of BLF Women and Girl’s Initiative project and we look forward to working with our beneficiaries and other partners in shaping and delivering a unique model of supporting vulnerable women. The next five years will be a rewarding and learning journey for all of us.”
Jessica is a young woman of Roma ethnicity from Bulgaria. With a background of abuse and exploitation, she never worked legally, became involved in pick-pocketing and eventually ended up in Holloway Prison.
Through the community project Hibiscus introduced Jessica to the English classes (she could speak Romani, but was not able to read or write in her own language).
Hibiscus noticed that Jessica seemed very isolated and panicky and suffered from ill mental health. Jessica had previously been under medication but when she was arrested the medication was taken away and she never got them back. An assessment by the mental health team was never completed. In January 2016 Hibiscus project worker had to take Jessica to a GP urgently following a mental breakdown. Hibiscus then took her to the local mental health hospital where she was looked after and given the right medications. Hibiscus then helped her register with a GP. She has become more stable and Hibiscus has helped her to re-apply for a National Insurance number (she had previously been refused). The charity has also helped to improve her relationship with her Probation Officer, and supported her to apply for a bank account.
The project continues to support Jessica as she looks for work, and encourages her to attend literacy classes and other project activities to reduce her social isolation, and improve her wellbeing.