Brighton Women’s Centre is a charity supporting women in Brighton and Hove for over 40 years. We work with women at risk; those who have faced abuse, loss, trauma, poverty and homelessness, and women who have been in contact with the criminal justice system.
Our BCF project is a new peer support service specifically to meet a gap in provision around women accessing after care. Women are often most at risk of loneliness when key service support ends. After Anne’s counselling and ISVA support ended she joined the peer groups:
‘I am so grateful to have the support of the Peer2Peer group. I know that I’m much healthier mentally than I was but it’s really important to engage with other women in recovery and have ongoing support as it’s so easy to slip into old patterns of behaviour. It has been empowering making decisions as a group what we need and I love the fact that we alternate between educational and social activities.’ (Anne)
Activities might range from recovery workshops, to creative and social. Women have been keen to make the group sessions positive, saying:
‘let’s do something different, I’m tired of addressing lots of negativity.’
‘It was fun to get out on the bikes yesterday and boy was I aware of it this morning! Haha!’ (Anne)
The peer groups can act as a spring board for engagement in people, places and activities. They allow BWC to extend our support provision to a wider net of women.
Not only are the peer groups about supporting women at vulnerable points in life where there is greater risk of loneliness, but through supported group activities, we aim to increase a women’s overall resilience so that she can forge new social connections and greater wellbeing.