A message from our Chair and Chief Executive
The Covid-19 pandemic continued to bring unprecedented challenges for the women and children we support for the second year. As women and children continued to struggle disproportionately with the effect of the crisis on their safety, mental health, housing and income, Advance continued to reach out and provide support to over 9,000 women, young women and children.
It is because of our many supporters, from statutory commissioners to trust and foundations, companies and individuals, that we were to provide our vital services to so many. Our continued commitment to improving outcomes for women and children has meant that we have invested the significant increase in funds in line with our strategic priorities, namely our vital frontline services, our work to amplify the voices of women and children and influence systemic change, and our people who continued to show unwavering commitment to the needs of women and children, despite the challenges
they faced throughout the pandemic.
In June 2021, we responded to the increasing need of women facing multiple disadvantages by extending our services nationally for the first time, in the South and East of England, in addition to Greater London. As part of Advance’s coordinated community response, we continued to focus on building local partnerships with specialist women’s centres, whilst sharing our expertise in providing women centred wraparound services and developing a multi-agency response, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and the National Probation Service.
We were able to develop new services in the community, including a further five new women centres in the South East, in addition to a third centre in London. We extended our groups and workshops in the centres to enable women and girls to build support networks and new skills, as well as further developing our specialist outreach advocates, including young women keyworkers supporting those over 15 years old, at risk of contact with the criminal justice system.
We worked with Government and others, at local and national level, to raise awareness of the impact of abuse and trauma on all aspects of women’s and girls’ lives, building on practice based evidence and women’s lived experiences. We launched “Women Demand Better Mental Health Support” in May 2021, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on women’s wellbeing and mental health including the increase in self-harm and deaths by suicide. In November 2021 we launched “Women Need Women Who Support Them”, sharing the learnings of the first two years of the London Women’s Diversion Service in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London’s office, and calling for an extension of the service providing support in the community and out of court disposals, across the whole of London and beyond.
We want to thank all our colleagues, volunteers and trustees for their hard work, expertise and dedication to providing vital support and delivering our mission, towards a safe, violence free and equal world for women and girls.
The end of this financial year brought a new challenge with the cost of-living crisis affecting women and children, our colleagues and partners and all of our communities. It is evident that our support will be just as vital going forward as is has been during Advance’s more than two decades of service, and we are committed more than ever to our mission.
Christine Losecaat MBE
Chief Executive Officer