Bishop to be patron of city project supporting women in sex industry

Posted by Website Administrator on 29 November 2018

The Rt Revd Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham is to be the patron of the Jericho Road Project in Nottingham, which has been supporting women affected by the adult sex industry since 2000.

The Project provides support and friendship to women across Nottinghamshire, enabling them to make life-changing informed choices and assisting and supporting those who wish to exit the sex industry.

Bishop Paul’s role will involve raising the profile and awareness both locally and nationally of issues the women face.

He says: “I am very pleased to support the work of The Jericho Road Project that is making a powerful difference to the lives and well-being of women affected by the adult sex industry. This is a special partnership between churches across the city.

This past Sunday many other churches as well will have included special prayers in support of a global campaign Women against Violence with the goal of eliminating all forms of violence against women.”

Up to 70 volunteers and seven part-time paid workers are involved in the street outreach, at the drop-in centre, prison visiting/resettling and befriending of about 200 women working on the streets or in brothels and massage parlours.

Outreach consists of driving the project’s van into Nottingham’s red light district two or three times a week providing food and hot drinks, warm clothing and prayer as well as signposting women to the drop-in centre attached to St Andrew’s Church on Mansfield Road, and to other services helping with housing, benefits, substance misuse and health issues.

The drop-in centre provides a safe and welcoming environment where food, laundry facilities, a bath/shower, toiletries and clothing are available.

Project Manager, Julia Terry and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Kay Wainman are delighted that the Bishop has accepted the role as patron, and he has already been out in the van along the designated route with the volunteers from 9pm until midnight to see the project in action.

“More than 90 per cent of the women are on Class A drugs and are on the street to get money to sustain their habit,” says Kay. “But for many there are other issues like broken homes and relationships, difficulties arising from the care system and poor education, with physical problems resulting from assault, drug addiction, STD’s and malnutrition and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD and being suicidal…

“Over the years we see a lack of hope, and a sense of entrapment into a lifestyle, so we try and bring hope of change. We visit women in prison – Foston Hall – and offer support with finding accommodation or accessing rehab on their release, working with agencies like ‘ Changing Lives.’”

The team try to get the women to report crimes against them, and help to build their self-esteem, and have now got funding from the Police & Crime Commission to do a pilot project called ‘Support to Report’ which aims to build their confidence – and offer music therapy, creative days and poetry workshops.

“The women are aware that the team are Christians,” says Julia… “and we offer prayer if they ask  for it. Our aim is to rehabilitate and integrate them back into the community. We also have a supported house through Hope into Action for Notts sex workers who want to move on, away from their current life, and a local church befriends the women who can do Alpha, come to Harvest suppers, Christmas services etc.. and one woman has been baptised.”

 

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