We hit a big milestone this summer thanks to our funders. A mum and her children became our first Empower Beds tenants, offering a safe house, thanks to £50,000 funding from Nationwide Building Society through County Durham Community Foundation.

After leaving an abusive relationship, Izzie* found herself and her children renting from a landlord with a bad reputation. But thanks to our Empower team’s new initative, Empower Beds, Izzie and her children were able to move into one of our safe houses while they got back on their feet.

Our Empower teams provide one-to-one and peer support groups, allowing people a safe space to open up and find their voice again. We restore people’s confidence through helping them understand what a healthy relationship looks like, to access legal advice and make a safety plan.

Jules and Holly from Empower provided support, while our Basis team managed the housing side of things.

Holly, who leads our Empower team, said: “A lot of people don’t leave because they don’t have anywhere safe to go or they’re frightened to go to a refuge. But Empower Beds allows women to keep their independence and still get the emotional support they need to move on. We are really pleased that our first tenancy has had such a good outcome and we hope to help many more women in the weeks and months to come.”

Although we have four programmes, Empower, Basis, Home and Aspire, we never work in isolation, and this was a great example of our teams joining forces.

When Izzie was ready to move on, she was offered a property by the local authority that wasn’t suitable for several reasons. But our Basis team have a good relationship with local services that allowed them to advocate; and now Izzie is in a property which she says is ‘perfect in every way.’

*Names have been changed