How this South Shields charity is reaching out to vulnerable women during lockdown
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Bright Futures has been a lifeline for young women across the borough during the current uncertain times.
The charity – which helps thousands of women and girls every year – supports those experiencing mental health issues, domestic abuse, homelessness or reoffending.
Over the last two weeks staff have been delivering packs of hygiene and skincare products and baby items to some of those who use the service but are no longer able to leave the house because they are self-isolating.
The centre has had to close due to the lockdown measures put in place to help slow the spread of Covid-19, but the charity is continuing to support women through phone calls, video chats and group activities on social media.
Managing directors Helen Bowman and Nicola Whalen said: “At Bright Futures we are hoping to use this time to pilot new ways of working that we may have not previously thought of or had the opportunity to trial and we hope that we can share our experiences and learning with others in the sector once we have got through this time.”
The charity is continuing to accept new referrals, as well as work with existing children and young people.
They added: “We are committed to ensuring that continued support is offered to all the young women and their families accessing our service at this extremely difficult time.”
Some campaigners have warned that forcing people to stay at home due to the virus will lead to a surge in domestic violence incidents.
During the government’s daily coronavirus press conference on Thursday, April 2 the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would "look at all options" to keep people suffering domestic violence safe amid the ongoing lockdown.
One centre user commented: “It honestly means so much to know I have someone to talk to when things are tough, and I am so grateful for the things in the bag. I appreciate it so much."