Woman Together

The Whitechapel Mission daycentre has been offering services to the homeless for more than 135 years, from the basic physical needs of food, showers and clothing, to advice and advocacy with a huge emphasis placed on empowering people to leave the streets and start a new life. These sessions are predominately male attended and is quite intimidating for women to feel comfortable or even walk through the door to access the services we offer.

Having a "Women's Centre" helps solve this problem and this service attracts different groups of women of different ages, cultures and social backgrounds - people who are homeless, street prostitutes, addicts and others who feel lonely and are trying to live on a basic income.

They come together every Friday from 12 noon - 3:00pm and work with each other, building a strong community within themselves. It is THEIR day, they are encouraged to have an input into the menu, the activities and how the group is steered, with gentle guidance from the all female staff team.

It gives them a chance to be themselves, to be women without having to play up to and flatter men; bonding with each other to achieve a sense of well being, self worth and value. It empowerers them as a group, giving them dignity and self confidence whilst helping each other to succeed.

We start at 12 noon with a hot cooked lunch around a communal table, chatting about the week that's gone and welcoming the week ahead.

At 1pm we begin our 'get living' programme, maybe its Jewellery making, or making thumb pots or greeting cards. The activities have to be simple but effective; simple so they don't feel as though they have failed "yet again" but effective so they feel they have achieved something worthwhile.

And they love their Bingo which they insist on playing once a month with great enthusiasm!

There is an opportunity to discuss individual problems with professional staff, both from our own staff team and from outside agencies are about to assist people with sorting their problems. The aim is not to sort the problems, but to assist the individuals resolve their problems themselves.

Many of the group were denied the attention of Mum throughout their childhood; a good example of this - we made Fairy cakes one week, the type of activity where you would have mums attention when you are young; the recipe instructions began with "cream together the butter and the sugar". Several of the ladies came and said, "sorry we can't do this, we haven't any cream". Hence we now check and change any instructions to put it into their language.

The staff team get a fantastic experience from working with the ladies and are constantly learning and building new relationships each week. Ladies day is about feeling free, escaping the harsh realities of their normal day. We have fun; we sing and dance whilst doing the activity, pure escapism. Don't get me wrong, it is not all fun, sometimes they drive us insane with the tantrums, but hey, that's life for you.

At 2pm the ladies help to pack away, clean down and we then start the clothing session. The clothes have been donated by people from all over the country and have been sorted, folded, hung onto rails and each item labelled.

The ladies then do what we ladies do best… SHOP! They can choose what they want. Not need, not what gets given to them. This is about choice - giving the ladies the chance to choose for themselves what they would like to wear. People who are homeless very rarely get given choice;

  • they get given what other people choose to give them;
  • they get given the things that are not needed any more by others;
  • they get given what other people feel is "good enough for them".

This is not conducive to building self confidence or self worth. We make the clothing session like a shopping trip, we take the time to make sure the clothes on the rails are clean, pressed and tagged just as you would find it in a shop. We also discuss choices and whether something looks good on the individual.

During the last year the group has grown from a set of insular, selfish individual women into a self supporting community. Recently, one of the group - a lady well known for being the "class bully" died aged 39 and although she was described in a negative way by the group, she was accepted. On her death they cried and reminisced - good memories and bad - they didn't turn her into a saint in death. They made cards, a wreath and her funeral was well attended by them. This showed us just how far they had come and the massive progress they had made.

Ladies day is such an important part of Whitechapel life, we laugh together; we argue together, we cry together… We're a family.

Find out about other ways to volunteer >>>

Our Impact in 2017

  • Over 3,332 volunteers, offering over 23,493 hours of their time.

  • New figures reveal that 3,569 people were found sleeping rough on any given night in England in 2015, an increase of 30% on the previous year.

  • Rough sleeping in England has now doubled since 2010

  • 24% of rough sleepers have been on the streets for 2 years or more.

  • 109,131 breakfasts served during this year, an average of 298 a day.

  • 4,871 different people used our services during this year.

  • 3,117 people used our advice services during the past year. 312 were women.

  • 18% of people using our services are under 26 years of age.

  • 32 people use the Whitechapel Mission's address to receive their post.

  • 29 people were helped to find employment

  • 11 were referred to drug or alcohol programmes.

  • 256 people received help in claiming benefits.

  • 32% of people using our services have been in care at some point.

  • 15% of people supported by the Whitechapel Mission have been in the armed services.

  • 97 people found permanent accomodation, either a flat or apartment. 169 people found a hostel during this year.

  • 20 birth certificates purchased during this year.

  • 19 people came to us without any form of ID at all.

  • 25,800 showers during this year.

  • 38% of people using our services have been in prison.

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News

challengeSay NO to Polystyrene

We have decided to remove all polystyrene products from our service provision.

Fundraising

  • Monopoly Challenge

    Monopoly Challenge

    Take in London’s iconic landmarks in this challenge within the heart of the capital.

    The date for the first 2018 challenge is: Thursday 24th May. Time: noon - 4pm

    Support the homeless by taking on the Monopoly Challenge.

    Learn more >>>

  • Charitable Bookings

    charitable bookings

    For EVERY honoured restaurant booking you make for you or on behalf of someone else, £1 for EVERY diner will be donated by CHARITABLE BOOKINGS to a charity of your choice at absolutely no cost to you.

    Learn more >>>

  • Good Giving

    Image of a Gift Certificate

    A gift that makes a real difference.

    Looking for the perfect present? Don’t know what to buy?

    How about a gift that can help change the life of a homeless person?

    Whatever your budget and whoever you’d like to buy for, there’s a full range for you choose from. And to recognise your donation we’ll send a gift certificate in the name of your friend, relative or loved one for them to open on their special day.

    Learn how to buy a Gift Certificate >>>

  • pennies from heaven

    pennies from heaven Net pay rounded down to the nearest pound with the pennies donated to charity. Earn £850.34 then 34p to charity

    Individuals sign up once and from then on every salary is rounded down to the nearest pound with the pennies donated to charity. If net pay was £850.34 then 34p would be donated. Donation is between 0-99p.

    Learn more >>>

  • UK mountain charity challenges

    Mountain Challenge Help raise money and awareness whilst tackling a mountain challenge

    ExpedAdventure organise and run bespoke UK mountain charity challenges and International treks. ExpedAdventure organise all the challenge logistics so you can focus on getting fit and raising awareness and funds for your charity.

    Learn more >>>

Run with a Mission

Only
0
days to go!
Sue Miller

The date for the 2018 race is:
15th July 2018

95 spaces available

Together, we have raised: £11,201.00

Learn more >>>

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