Meet the 2019 Impact Award Winners below
Organisation:Winner: Anew Support ServicesCategory:Medium OrganisationsCharity Reg no. :RCN 20022983 CHY 91721. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the organisation set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this?Anew Support Services was established in 1981 to provide women with unplanned pregnancies with an alternative option to mother and baby homes. We provide services relating to housing, parenting and maternal wellbeing. Over the past 40 years Ireland has changed a lot, but issues impacting women who experience unplanned pregnancy remain complex. Many of the women we work with are homeless as a direct result of their pregnancy: they have to leave the family home, or can't bring a baby into a houseshare, they lose employment-related accommodation, or have to leave their homes due to domestic violence, or relationship breakdown. Our aim is to reduce homelessness for pregnant women and new mothers and achieve great post natal and early childhood outcomes for both mother and child.
3. Everyone loves a good story. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
- Explain your organisation's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer.We take a client-centred approach, working with each woman to assess her unique needs and develop a plan to support her throughout her pregnancy and post birth. We operate a small accommodation service for pregnant women experiencing homelessness, while working to secure long term housing for the women. Our family support worker also visits women in their long-term home to ensure they are linked into community services in the area for ongoing support. Parenting and early baby skills programmes are provided as the women often have no support network to help them with a newborn baby. Women attend group work to meet and receive support from others who have had similar experiences. We encourage and provide counselling for the women for as long as needed to work through their trauma.
4. What has the overall impact of this work been?
- Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the organisation’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.“I can’t thank you enough for everything you've done for me and R. You were a great support for us and I'll never forget it. R had the best start in life all because of you all and the house and I will make sure she knows all about it when she’s older. Thank you so much for all the help with the baby and even before she was born. You helped me through the hardest time of my life and I really appreciate it. I’ve learnt so much about myself and being a mother from being in the house. I am forever grateful.” Jenny left her father’s home while working because their relationship broke down. She wanted to find a place of her own in a house share, but after weeks of trying, she had no choice but to present as homeless. On her first few nights in the hostel, she was so afraid that she hid all her belongings under the covers with her. She then sought protection from a man also living in the hostel, but the relationship was fraught and she ended it. However, a few weeks later, she found out she was pregnant and knew she needed a safe place to stay for her and her baby. That's when she found out about Anew and Cherry Blossom Cottage. Jenny quickly settled into the house and began to trust the staff and other residents. She started to focus on her health and her pregnancy, and the future of her and her baby while staff helped prepare her for motherhood. Jenny has now found her forever home, attends group work with other mothers and receives visiting support from our family support worker
5. What makes your organisation special?
- How will you described the overall impact of your organisation’s work. Have you been successful? How do you know? You can include some facts and figures if you wish.We use the Parent and Baby Outcome Star to measure outcomes in mental and physical health, relationships, including bonding with baby and support network, housing, and essentials. In 2019 there has been an average improvement of 25% in all areas measured. We also measure Key Performance Indicators relating to the number of long term tenancies secured. 2019 has seen 90% of women using our services secure a tenancy along with a tenancy sustainment rate of 100%. In 2020, we hope to introduce the tenancy star and the early parenting (3 years) star. We are also currently in discussions with a research team to develop an approach to measure the outcomes for the children of the women with whom we work. We hope that this will further demonstrate the effect and long term impact of our work.
6. How can the public support your work?
- What is the organisation’s unique selling-point? What makes the organisation different from others working in the same field/area?Anew Support Services is the only service in Ireland providing a range of supports specifically to pregnant women and new mothers experiencing homelessness. The women we work with become homeless as a direct result of their pregnancy, are already homeless and become pregnant, and also are women in Direct Provision who are pregnant. We recognise that coming to terms with the reality of having a newborn without the supports typically found at home is hugely challenging. Things like trying to have a shower or eat with a baby a few days old, with no one to hold or watch over baby in services where no visitors are allowed can result in great stress to a new mother. We are unique because we measure typical homeless service and typical pre-and post-natal outcomes and combine them into one.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.We need the public to share the stories of the women with whom we work to raise awareness about the fact that women in Ireland are still becoming homeless as a direct result of their pregnancy. We do not have the resources to put into fundraising or marketing campaigns, so public awareness is crucial. Our counselling service in Cork and Dublin, and our parenting support programme in Cork (for women in Direct Provision) are facing closure in 2020 due to a lack of statutory funding, despite increased demand. This is, in part, due to a lack of understanding about the issues affecting the women who avail of Anew Support Services. We need a corporate sponsor or private funder and one sponsor could change the lives of thousands of pregnant women and new mothers experiencing homelessness.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Governance Code? Do you use the Fundraising Principles etc.?Accountability is one of Anew’s core values and we strive to be accountable at all times as to how for how we use our funding, and our annual accounts are available on our website. Anew is compliant with the Charities Regulator governance code, statutory funding is subject to Service Level Agreements, and finance reports are provided under the terms of those contracts. The Accommodation Service works in compliance with the Pathways to Home model of service delivery and the National Standards Framework for Homeless Services. All elements of service provision have strong policies and procedures in place with a particular emphasis on Health and Safety as a result of the particularly vulnerable target group. Anew is governed by a Board of Directors, profiles can be viewed on our website.