Lighthouse Project, Hull
This project (run by Hull Community Church), working with women who are involved in the sex industry in Hull, began as a voluntary service by women from two churches in the Hull area. However, they quickly learned that offering “tea and love”, although a positive start welcomed by the target group, was not enough. In conversations with them it became clear that a drop-in centre was required.
Recognising that women who accessed the service had drug addictions and needed support with that as well as child care, health services, domestic violence, homelessness and welfare rights led to the realisation that a full time worker was needed.
The volunteers began the task of raising sufficient funds. Importantly the first funder was the Church Urban Fund (CUF). This gave the project a strong air of “respectability” that would encourage others to contribute to the effort. The funding criteria required evidence of working together with other service providers and agencies, so this encouraged and supported the churches’ belief that integrated working was necessary. With the aid of CUF on funding proposals, the workers obtained funds to employ a full time project manager.
The service is accessed via the project outreach bus, a mobile resource travelling around the two red light districts of the city. The bus acts as a venue for sex workers to meet people from the project and is intended as a safe space in which to befriend them as a starting-point for identifying practical support as needs arise. Following a one to one assessment, and preparation of a care plan, the project workers act as advocates and co-ordinators to facilitate access to local services.
The project, which grew out of churchwomen’s concern for women in the sex industry, now provides practice learning for social workers as well as support and consultation for others setting up similar services nationally.
“One of my most vivid memories is of a woman who came into our drop-in covered in blood. She didn’t want to talk she just wanted to go into the toilets and clean up. Not long after, her boyfriend came in shouting for her, and she left with him, shouting and screaming at each other down the street. We sat there helpless, looking at each other. We prayed. And did nothing. A few months later she was murdered. What could we have done?”
Anne Dannerolle, volunteer and trustee, writing about the early days of the project.
“The Lighthouse project is regarded as a pioneer in this work and its input in the development of other projects has been sought and highly valued.”
Adam Dinham The Mustard Seed Effect (CUF)
Bradbury Community House
310 Newland Ave
Hull, HU5 2NB