I started my career in Local Government in 1980. One of my first jobs was to minute multi agency child protection meetings, which as a young person myself exposed me to some harrowing stories of neglect and abuse within families.
However, I learned a lot at that time about the work of those working to protect and support young people affected by abuse as well as the survivors themselves.
Later on I gained a particular interest in working within deprived communities helping to address issues of access to housing. As a result I decided to train to be a professionally qualified housing worker. I worked on housing estates, in the field of council housing as it was called back then, now social housing, managing a ‘patch’ and assisting residents with managing their tenancies.
However, this was difficult sometimes and challenging, as on occasions it involved dealing with cases of abuse and violence of a very extreme nature. Getting in particular, women and children to a safe place was paramount.
Later on in my career I was on the management committee for a Women’s Centre where we dealt with cases of abuse and violence. The amount of people of all ages enduring or escaping from abuse has always been staggeringly high and that continues to affect our society, something which we all need to work towards changing.
What I have learned through my experiences over the years, is how important it is for a young person to have a home where they can be independent and safe.
Support to build confidence and self-belief is equally important.
So I have a deep empathy for the Young Women’s Housing project and projects like it.
The YWHP tackles some very difficult issues, but through their initiatives they have had so many successes in being able to assist young women and helping them move on into the next stages of their lives.
The fact they have been around since 1988 is testament to their tenacity and determination to help young women in Sheffield.
I am so pleased that SYCF is able to support such projects and the innovative solutions that they provide.
YWHP is one of only few services like this in the UK despite the overwhelming need there is for their services. We need to support such projects and I encourage everyone to help SYCF to continue our work funding such worthwhile projects within our communities.