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Hope Street’s trauma-informed residential service for justice involved women
Lady Edwina Grosvenor celebrates the first year of a ground-breaking new project for justice involved women.

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Hope Street One Year on

Many readers will be familiar with Hope Street, the pioneering residential community for women and their children which operates as an alternative to custody which opened just over one year ago. The project, developed by the charity One Small Thing under the leadership of Lady Edwina Grosvenor is based in Hampshire and is piloting a new approach to working with justice involved women. From within a healing, trauma-informed, residential environment, women and children have access to a range of specialist support. By taking a positive and compassionate approach, the project aims to create a blueprint for change that can be replicated across the country and achieve better outcomes for women, their children and society.

About Hope Street

Women at the project have access to:

  • A safe, 24 hour staffed residential Hub, purpose built and specifically designed to create a trauma informed and trauma responsive environment for women and their children. Hope Street provides flats that can accommodate women with their children at the Hub and provide play and support services for children on site to prevent family separation and the trauma experienced by both mothers and their children.
  • Individually tailored programmes designed to enable women to address a wide range of issues in their lives that have resulted in them becoming involved with the justice system
  • Eleven move-on supported Hope Houses for women leaving the Hub in preparation for return to their own home
  • Ongoing outreach community-based support for women and their families once they have returned to their own home

While the hub can accommodate up to 24 women (and their children) at any one time, the project aims to accommodate e 124 women and their children across the county, with another 500 women accessing services on a day basis.

The project is keen to be rooted in the local community and operates a community café space which hosts local groups. The café gives women at Hope Street the chance to gain skills in baking, cookery and catering. Similarly, the project’s healing garden, which includes a kitchen garden, provides an opportunity for women to learn horticultural skills, including growing fresh produce for the café.

Credible alternatives to our overcrowded prisons

To celebrate Hope Street’s first anniversary, Lady Edwina kindly wrote a short piece for the blog setting out the project’s rationale.

“The prisons are full and there is no way that building more prisons is going to fix the current problem or the trajectory that we are on. There are too many prisoners, too few staff, sentences have increased exponentially and there appears to be no credible strategy at all for what lies ahead.

I have spent that last eight years of my twenty five year career in Justice designing and building an alternative to custody for women and their children. Hope Street Hampshire is a  residential community solution for women who are currently sent to prison due to unsafe or unstable accommodation, not because their crime crosses the custody threshold. Due to women usually being the primary carer this often means that children are removed into the care system which often has devastating effects.

The Hope Street model which is now one year into operations, has been designed to be replicable and scalable so that it could be rolled out across the Country. Women can be sent to Hope Street on remand, on a community sentence, from prison if they are eligible for early release or by probation, and crucially, if appropriate, their children can remain with them whilst they receive the support they need.

If a new Government happened to be looking for credible, thought through solutions to the overcrowding crisis then this certainly is one.”

You can find out more about Hope Street here


Thanks to fotohaus Ltd for kind permission to use the images in this post. You can see their work here

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