Women’s Choices West Berkshire provided by BWA seeks to improve the lives of women aged 18 and over with multiple and complex needs living in West Berkshire. Our aim is to increase women’s resilience and help them to make changes in their lives as well as supporting them to access mainstream services and encouraging them to lead healthy lifestyles.
We know that previous experience of statutory services can make women reluctant to seek help and that the array of support services available can be confusing and hard to access. Women’s Choices is proactive in trying to engage with women and provides a high level of support to women who potentially lead chaotic lifestyles. We encourage and support women to engage with local services and put them in touch with agencies that might help them as well as acting as an advocate with services when required.
Women must be aged 18 and over and live in West Berkshire
They must also be experiencing three of the following complex needs:
- Homelessness or problems with housing
- Low level offending and re-offending
- Problematic substance misuse
- Mental ill health
- Money/debt management
- Domestic abuse and/or physical or sexual abuse
We will empower women to manage their emotional and physical health and wellbeing and support them to take control of their own health by making informed lifestyle choices, changing behaviours and developing coping mechanisms.
Women’s Choices work with women to develop their own personalised support plans based around their individual needs and risks ensuring the women‘s views are central to our work. We arrange regular 1:1 meetings with women offering a minimum of 12 weeks of support and we can work with women for up to 12 months including the following:
We identify those at risk of domestic abuse and sexual violence and support them to access support in the form of outreach or refuge where appropriate. We also have the skills and expertise to provide safety planning advice as well as emotional support to help them break the cycle of abuse;
Finances and housing
We work with the women to identify ways in which they can improve their financial situation and maximising income through budgeting and take up of relevant benefits and debt management. Ensure women are supported to address issues with their housing which results in fewer women experiencing eviction and supported to address issues with their finances and debts to reduce rent arrears;
Women’s Choices works with women to support them to lead healthy lifestyles by promoting access to existing services, facilitating access to GP, optician, dentist or other healthcare professional, access to drug and alcohol services, encouraging uptake to screening programmes and seasonal flu vaccination. Our group sessions cover a wide range of topics such as first aid, smoking, stress awareness, sexual health, health eating etc. We also provide health information materials and promote public health campaigns such as mental health awareness week and national Public Health England campaigns;
We help women to develop coping strategies that could help their situation through supported mental health and wellbeing, accessing 1:1 sessions regularly with minimal cancellations whilst maintaining monitoring scales to track their progress being able to demonstrate improvement in personal wellbeing, family and close relationships. Raising awareness of other services available and supporting women to access wider ranges of community and statutory services. This could also including promoting access to sport and leisure activities, and to arts and cultural activities, such as museums, theatres and cinemas.
Education Employment and Training
We ensure women are supported to access education, training, volunteering and employment by working with partner to improve literacy, language and numeracy skills. We also provide support to access to training and volunteering opportunities.
We offer a drop in group for existing clients held monthly on details to be confirmed. Our drop in provides ongoing support, information and advice as well as group activities covering a variety of topics for example first aid, smoking, stress awareness, sexual health, healthy eating etc.
Call our Helpline on 0118 950 4003 asking for Women’s Choices. The helpline is staffed Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm for referrals/enquiries.
Email us at WomenschoicesWB@bwaid.org.uk
Write to us at PO Box 413, Reading, RG1 8XL