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My Sisters' House Women's Centre

The only women's centre in West Sussex, our vision is that no woman within our community should experience abuse, poverty, mental health or other disadvantages without the support that will help them to live healthy lives and realise their full potential.

www.mysistershouse.info

Charity

Registered charity no. 1188070

Member since June 2021

About us

We support vulnerable women who experience multiple disadvantage due to a combination of complex and overlapping problems including histories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, and mental health problems.

We support women who may be having a difficult time in their lives – a recent loss such as bereavement, suffering poverty from unemployment, relationship breakdown, are the victim of crime, or living with the impact of accident or illness/disability.

We support women with complex needs who may lead chaotic lives, and ‘move from one crisis to another.’ They often lack social confidence, have low self-worth, and feel isolated and outcast from society. This frequently means that they are unable or unwilling to sustain engagement with mainstream support agencies.

We work to reduce the factors which affect the ability of women to benefit from the support available to them. This can include an unwillingness to seek help, distrust of helping organisations, perceptions of services as irrelevant, and feelings of hopelessness or ‘not being ready.’

“I remember when my heart was broken into tiny pieces and I felt that my world had fallen apart, I had no hope and was about to give up on life when I had a nagging voice at the back of my head to go in and ask help from My Sisters’ House. I’m so glad that I did, I was met with such compassion and dedication to try to help solve my issue and I wouldn’t be where I am now without the kindness and support which I received from every staff member. You are all fantastic heroes and every one of you are thoroughly appreciated for all that you do.”

We offer the support of specialist staff with knowledge and experience in the fields of domestic abuse, employment support and training, and benefit applications and other financial appeals.

We help by providing one-to-one keyworking, peer groups, courses in building confidence and skills, and dealing with anxiety, and we offer counselling to those who need it.

We run a course for mothers and children to help them recognise and overcome the lasting effects of domestic abuse.

We give out foodbank vouchers, clothing vouchers and bags of toiletries.

Our varied programme of activities and events provides a vital sense of safety and community, which in turn, improves women’s confidence, wellbeing and ability to feel empowered to effect real change.

During the lockdowns and other restrictions of the previous year, we have continued to provide almost all of our services by utilising Zoom, phone, web chat, and offering face-to-face appointments when permitted.

“You and the team at MSH should all be so proud of themselves. Never through this pandemic has any one given up. The house has adapted, as and when needed, very quickly might I add. Without all your support, even if it was just knowing you were all there, if we needed anything. When I did need something, there was always a volunteer manning the phone, to mobile phone or email contact. No question or request was I ever made to feel as if I was being a nuisance or it was an effort.”

Open 30+ hours per week including evenings and weekends. All services are free to clients

• 75% of the women accessing our services are living with or in recovery from domestic abuse. • Nationally, women are ten times as likely as men to have experienced physical and sexual abuse during their lives, with one in 20 women affected. • Of this group of women, more than half have a common mental health condition, one in three have attempted suicide, nearly half are in the lowest income bracket, a quarter have been homeless and a third have an alcohol problem. • Over 70,000 people are living in poverty in West Sussex including nearly 17,000 children, and we know that people living in deprived areas live shorter lives and have longer periods of ill health. • Currently, healthy life expectancy in West Sussex has stalled and is falling for women. • COVID‑19 has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities and the gap is widening on a daily basis.