A Doncaster project that offers prostitutes support, help and advice has been nominated for a national award.
Run in tandem with Doncaster Council and Changing Lives, the Amber Project has helped people working in the town’s sex trade for the last two years.
As part of the project a dedicated team patrol the streets around Thorne Road, where police receive the most reports of solicitation in Doncaster, every Friday night when they provide support to dozens of vulnerable women who have turned to prostitution.
Work includes dishing out sandwiches and hot chocolate, giving out condoms and rape alarms and arranging appointments for services such as counselling.
The project has now been shortlisted as a finalist to win the Howard League for Penal Reform Community Awards, after South Yorkshire Police nominated the project for the award.
A spokesman for Changing Lives, which operates from the charity’s women’s centre on Cleveland Street in the town centre, said: “We are very excited to have been shortlisted for this award, recognising the hard work of all those involved in the Amber project and the impact they have on women’s lives across Doncaster.
“We work with women from the most deprived wards for whom the best that Doncaster has to offer is out of reach. To be able to offer support to those facing social exclusion and help them make positive, lasting changes to their lives is hugely rewarding.”
Since the project was set up Changing Lives have helped a total of 19 women leave prostitution for good.
Changing Lives has also provided ‘trauma-informed ‘support to 164 women engaged in on-street survival sex work since the project began.
After the team has engaged with sex workers in the town’s red light district, they begin by trying build a relationship with them.
They then invite the women to the centre in a bid to further explore the emotional and practical issues that often draw women, and men, towards prostitution.
Another facet of what the project attempts to do is signposting sex workers towards a range of relevant support services offered in the borough.
Commenting on the reasons Changing Lives had been shortlisted for the award, a spokesman for the charity said: “The Amber project not only supports women directly involved in sex work, but also works to benefit the community as a whole.
Doncaster’s director of public health, Dr. Rupert Suckling said: “It is great to see the Amber Project nominated for such a prestigious national award.
“We have supported the programme along with the Police and Crime Commissioner, and this nomination is recognition of the fantastic work of all the staff from the range of partner agencies that have been involved.”