This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating the strong women that we support at our female service in Stoke-on-Trent.
We launched the dedicated 24/7 service in 2020. It’s a safe and secure place that is currently home to 12 women. The service provides safe accommodation and tailored support for women who have experienced homelessness alongside complex needs and multiple disadvantages.
Customer Georgia* has been with us for two months. We met the 45-year-old after she was supported by another local provider. Before that she spent time in and out of prison and slept rough on the streets.
“Going through difficult times can make you stronger,” said Georgia.
“I came to Concrete two months ago. Since then they’ve supported me with regular one-to-ones and different activities.
“I’ve lost a lot of loved ones, including members of my family, which has been really hard, but I know that I’m a strong person.
“I’ve been in and out of jail since I was 19. The last time was less than a year ago.
“I’ve been a heroin user throughout my life, so I’ve been involved in drugs and theft. I’ve had offences for shoplifting and more recently a drug offence.
“My biggest goal is to find my own place and live independently.”
We asked Georgia what she thinks makes a strong woman. She explained that she thinks it’s all about ‘independence and confidence.’
She added: “It helps when you have other women that you can trust and look up to. Strong female friendships are important.
“It’s also about taking difficult situations and experiences and learning from them. You have to overcome them and turn them into strengths.”
Our specialist female service delivers tailored support to women in lots of different ways. This includes fun activities, such as cooking and crafting, one-to-one sessions with specialist workers and group work. This helps the women build their confidence, resilience and independence.
Deputy Manager of our female service, Modupe, added: “I think resilience makes a strong woman. It’s about having perseverance and not giving up. Turning the bad times into lessons to learn from.
“Things can break you, but you can overcome them and learn from them.
“Our ladies here are all strong women with so much potential. That makes me feel really proud.”
*name changed and different photo used to protect identity – image credit: Centre for Homelessness Impact