Calling all Movers and Shakers! Festival Fundraiser returns

Exciting news today that a festival fundraiser which raised over £1k for our Dorset Social Inclusion Service is set to return for an early summer event.

‘Gimme Shelter’ is an event organised by YOU’s very own Martin Saint. Martin works in Dorset as an Accommodation Finder for the service, known as Your Journey. All proceeds from this fabulous festival will go towards the work of the service.

The Dorset Social Inclusion Service provides a co-ordinated, comprehensive and flexible package of support for people who are of no fixed abode, sofa surfing or in temporary accommodation, and for rough sleepers. This includes working with partners to identify and make contact with people sleeping out as well as with those who have substance misuse issues, mental health issues and/or a history of offending. Each client, no matter what their circumstances or where they live, is matched with a named Community Navigator who works in equal partnership with them, recognising their skills and strengths, planning how their outcomes are to be met.

The festival was extremely well received last time round, and Martin is confident the bands he’s secured for this year’s line up will guarantee another great event. Of the line up he says ‘we have outdone ourselves securing bands this time as we have Dorset’s biggest dub-reggae band headline in the absolutely fantastic Cuba Libre. We also have the West Country’s answer to the White Strips, Jawbone, in the house; if you like your rock ‘n’ roll, this is not t be missed’.

The festival is also looking to showcase bands from local schools during the afternoon slot. It’s set to be a great community event with hopes of raising even more money for the valuable service.

‘Everybody of any age is welcome and as ever, all donations for food and clothes are welcome,’ Martin says, ‘ all funds will be going to the Dorset Social Inclusion Service to help clients with difficulties with their housing’.

Tickets will be available on the door at a bargain of £3 each.




National Stalking Awareness Week

This week 24th – 28th April is National Stalking Awareness Week. According to a 2006 survey (British Crime Survey) at least 5 million people are stalked each year, but this is likely to be a much higher figure as only 1% of stalking cases are recorded by police (National Stalking Consortium, 2016).

National Stalking Advocacy Service, Paladin, discovered during its 2016 service evaluation that 70% of its clients were female, and 68% of cases were related to domestic violence. You First is the YOU Domestic Violence and Abuse service supporting people daily who are experiencing the realities of stalking. Following on from partnership work with the Police and Crime Commissioner in Dorset, You First are pleased to announce they were successful in the application for a share in the Tampon Tax. They have received funding to further develop and deliver an innovative and specialist service for those experiencing stalking.

The service will be targeted specifically at people who are either engaged with, or experiencing stalking across all different types of stalking and involves working in close partnership with the police, probation, health and other specialist support.

Paladin are hosting a national stalking conference in June. YOU’s Head of Domestic Violence and Abuse, and Manager of Dorset You First will both be attending in order to help form best practice at the new clinic. Statistics from crime surveys reveal that most people don’t report stalking incidents to the police and are not sure how to get help. We’re excited to be part of the wider conversation providing solutions to this crime affecting so many peoples’ lives in secret.

Follow National Stalking Awareness Week on social media through the hashtag #StalkingMatters or #NSWA17

What is Stalking?

Defined by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust:

‘It is hard to give an exact definition of stalking because stalkers will often use multiple and differing methods to harass their victims. Stalking can consist of any type of behaviour such as regularly sending flowers or gifts, making unwanted or malicious communication, damaging property and physical or sexual assault. If the behaviour is persistent and clearly unwanted, causing you fear, distress or anxiety then it is stalking and you should not have to live with it.’ 

Sex and Relationships Education to be Mandatory in All England Schools

The government has announced that Sex and Relationships Education is to be made mandatory teaching in all England schools from the age of 4. Until now it was only compulsory for SRE to be taught in council-run schools. Education secretary Justine Greening in an interview with the BBC said:

“At the moment, many schools teach sex and relationships education. But it’s not mandatory, and, therefore, for many children, they are not coming out of our schools really being equipped to deal with the modern world or indeed be safe and protected from some of the very modern challenges that young people face on cyberbullying and sexting.

“What we’re introducing today is mandatory relationships and sex education in all secondary schools, but also mandatory relationships education in primary schools as well.

“And, of course, all of this, it’s important, is age-appropriate and, of course, it’s also important to retain, for sex education, a parent’s right to withdraw their child.”

Our You First domestic abuse services have long been working alongside many other voluntary and charitable organisations across the country, delivering healthy relationships training to children in schools and within our refuges. We’re committed to continue this important work and are thrilled the government has recognised its importance.

“It’s really great that the government has made the decision to make such teaching mandatory, and from an early age – we see stories all the time in the news about children who have been groomed, molested and led to believe by the perpetrator that the relationship they have is ‘normal’ and they don’t always have any way to know otherwise,” says Tonia Redvers, YOU’s head of Domestic Abuse services.

“Learning about healthy relationships from a young age is positive for building communities free from domestic abuse and violence. By making this education in schools mandatory all children are given an equal opportunity to learn how to engage with each other in a positive, respectful way as they grow”.


You First Hampshire delivering a session on healthy relationships with children last year, as part of the ‘Think Safe’ initiative.


‘March’ing forwards for Women

With International Women’s Day falling on the 8th of March and Mother’s Day on the 26th, YOU has decided to make March all about women and we’d love for YOU to be involved.


This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Be Bold for Change’, a message true to our hearts as an organisation. On average 2 women every week in England and Wales are killed  by a current or former partner (Office of National Statistics, 2015). Our domestic abuse support services in Hampshire and Dorset support and empower women into safer, independent lives free from fear and violence.  We believe that it is everyone’s responsibility, be they male, female, young or old, to help build a safer and more inclusive world. We’ll be taking part in pledging to be Bold for Change as part of the International Women’s Day campaign and asking people ‘what does being bold mean to you?’

Yesterday our Chair and Trustees kicked things off by pledging their support. The best thing about this campaign is we can all be involved! Visit the website, spread the word and pledge your boldness.


We’re currently in the process of opening a new refuge provision in Dorset (read more about it here). We’re thrilled to be opening new support for women in a time when refuges all over the country are under threat from funding cuts.  We’ve got the rooms and the roof, but we need some help in getting the place ready for living in. Can you spare some pounds to help us buy essentials like white goods for the kitchen? Check out our Total Giving page here:


The YOU Trust Response to DCLG & DWP Consultation – Funding for Supported Housing

YOU is concerned that the current Local Housing Allowance (LHA) cap and ‘top-up’ proposal has been created in the absence of any impact assessment and is not credible.  We are clear that the status quo is not acceptable to Government.    However, this approach is a backwards step that will stifle development and will put existing accommodation and services at unnecessary risk.  Fellow providers and trade bodies share our concerns. We believe it will undermine years of positive delivery, and will make the current situation worse.

Our full response documents can be found below.

DCLG DWP Consultation Funding for Supported Housing – Response
The YOU Trust
 WP Com CLG Com inquiry on supported housing – Response The YOU Trust

New Soft Play Room for Domestic Abuse Refuge

On the 14 of February, North Dorset Domestic Abuse Refuge will be officially opening a soft play room for the under 5s. The Refuge, run by You First Dorset, part of The YOU Trust charity, has been provided with funds by Friends of North Dorset Refuge project to go ahead. All parties involved are thrilled to be able to provide such a fantastic provision for children whose parents are being supported by You First.

The Chair of Friends of North Dorset Refuge, Sara Jackson, stated: “The Friends of North Dorset Refuge are delighted to see the completion of a project they have been working on for some years – a soft play room for younger children. We have raised the funds for this room which is brightly coloured and full of shaped and sounds, discoveries to be made and fun to be had – what is not to like for a small child?

Older children have their own space in a different part of the building – now the smaller residents have theirs where they can be safe, play with others and always have Mum on hand to help with new challenges: climbing, carrying, building, naming colours and all the time learning without realising that there is a different way of living, free from fear.”

This brilliant addition will compliment the existing activity room – You First have a specialist worker who engages with all children as we know that safe play spaces are vital for all children as we know that safe play spaces are vital for all children to come to terms with their experience of living with domestic abuse.

Katie Bielec, Integrated Service Manager of You First Dorset, said: “This extra safe space for children under 5 will allow them to play, explore and be free. It is an essential part of their journey and we are incredibly grateful to the Friends of North Dorset Refuge and Sovereign who have worked closely with us to ensure this addition to the refuge occurred.”

Women and children at the refuge, and You First staff, want to extend their thanks to the Friend of North Dorset Refuge for the generous donation, and to the Sovereign Housing Association, for working with us to install the soft play equipment.

Counselling service for Portsmouth set to continue through The YOU Trust

Portsmouth Counselling Service’s good work is set to continue thanks to a new agreement between Portsmouth City Council and The YOU Trust.

The future of the counselling service has been uncertain for some time but now there is the opportunity for this vital support network to vulnerable people in Portsmouth to continue as part of The YOU Trust.

The council has awarded The YOU Trust £50,000 from its voluntary sector transition fund which will allow it to continue the work previously undertaken by Portsmouth Counselling Service and counselling service volunteers to carry on their valuable work.

David Miles, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Counselling Service, said: “I am delighted that our work will continue to support vulnerable people across Portsmouth through The YOU Trust. While it might not be called Portsmouth Counselling Service, the public will still get exactly the same level of service. It is fantastic that the council and The YOU Trust have been able to work with us to make this happen and I’m particularly pleased they want the same people to deliver it.”

The YOU Trust already has a big presence in Portsmouth, Hampshire and Dorset, offering a variety of support services including advice services, working with domestic abuse, people with mental health issues and homelessness. The plan is for existing counselling service volunteers to become park of the new counselling service and provide a new counselling service replicating what they currently provide but on a firmer financial footing.

Nicola Youern, Chief Executive of The YOU Trust, said: “Portsmouth Counselling Service has a good track record of providing support to the city and we’re looking forward to continuing this as part of The YOU Trust. We’re inheriting a wealth of expertise through the people involved and the counselling service will compliment the range of work we already do to help people across Portsmouth.”

The money from the council will be used to cover the initial costs of establishing the counselling service within The YOU Trust. After the one-off payment, the service will become part of The YOU Trust’s sustainable operations.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Portsmouth City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care, said: “It’s great news that everyone has been able to pull together to ensure Portsmouth Counselling Service’s important work can continue. The YOU Trust is an ideal partner for this, with an excellent reputation both locally and nationally. Their track record of generating income and securing funding to offer the public vital support within a sustainable business model gives us every confidence that the service is in safe hands.

Councils have far less money than in the past. Even so, by working closely with partners and using the funds it has to maximum effect, the city council has been able to protect these vital counselling services, this is similar to work done with the Recovery Café and ongoing discussions with Portsmouth Abuse & Rape Counselling Service (PARCS) to jointly improve their headquarters building.”

New Dorset Women’s Centre: White Goods Appeal


1. Shelter or protection from danger,trouble, etc,:
‘to take refuge from a storm’

2. A place of shelter, protection, or safety

3. anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief or escape

Recent years of austerity, cuts and squeezed budgets have been bad news for women’s services. Only last week Sunderland hit the headlines as being the first major city to be at risk of having zero refuge provision for women and children fleeing domestic abuse. Awareness of domestic abuse is increasing, more and more people are reporting incidents which means these vital services are needed more than ever.

We already run services  under our You First Hampshire and You First Dorset integrated domestic abuse services (for more details of what we offer, click here). We believe in harnessing every prospect to improve on our services and extend their reach. We’ve always got one ‘can-do’ eye open for new opportunities , so we were thrilled last year when the chance to open a new refuge in Dorset came up.

Refuge living isn’t ideal. We all have the right to create the dictionary definition of the term within our own homes, but when a person isn’t safe in their home, at risk of violence from another person sharing that space, they need an alternative. We aim to make our refuges as home-from-home as possible. A safe space to recuperate and plan, provide solace and calm.

Our new refuge is nearly ready, but we really want to provide white goods for the kitchen space for the women’s use. Many arrive with very little, some arriving in the early hours having packed in a rush. Perhaps they’ve packed just one small bag for them and their children, maybe they arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back. We want to provide a washing machine, a fridge, tumble dryer, all the white goods we take for granted that make our day-to-day easier.

This is where we need your help – can you spare a few pounds for our white goods fund?

Contact us:

PHONE: Fareham head office 01329 821913

Or even easier, check out our TotalGiving fundraising page:



Christmas 2016

Christmas was as busy as ever at YOU this (last!) year. We had parties, we had feasts, there were gifts and Father Christmas himself even did the rounds.

Staff working in our domestic abuse and violence refuges went all out to keep the magic of Christmas alive for the children living there. Living in a refuge can be a strange and unnerving experience for young people, and refuge staff work alongside children’s’ parents to make sure they feel safe and as normal as possible. Christmas is a great opportunity to bring some familiarity into their lives, and a good excuse for a few parties! A special thanks to local charity Free Cakes for Kids who provided two fabulous cakes for the Christmas party in Basingstoke.

On the 22nd of December residents at Byways (supported living service for people with learning disabilities) were greeted with an early Christmas present – a new car! Bought with funds raised by fundraising group, Friends of Byways,  It will mean greater independence, more social opportunities, and generally provide more ease in being involved in the local community and daily living. Huge thanks to all involved.

Byways residents with their new car

We hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break. Here’s to 2017 and all the good stuff to come!

Councillor visits Domestic Violence and Abuse Services

On October 3 2016 Councillor Terri Reid met with women, children and staff at a refuge in Hampshire which is run by You First, the domestic violence and abuse service of The YOU Trust working across West and North Hampshire.

People in the refuge are fleeing domestic violence and abuse, such as Jo – she has two children under 5 and was placed in the refuge by the police after the last violent incident at home. The police had been called a number of times, but Jo wanted to make her marriage work for the sake of the children.  Jo says the violence and control by her husband was getting worse and she was afraid he would kill her and hurt the children, so this time she came to the refuge.

Jo has been at refuge for 6 weeks and was worried when she first came here, what it would be like, what the other women would be like and how the children would settle. Jo says its been great, the other women are a good laugh and its good to have someone to talk to who understands. The children have made new friends and they get lots of help from the children’s workers. Jo feels really safe now and has started to think about her move on and where she may end up.  There is so much more to Jo’s story and moving into refuge was a positive step for her.

You First Hampshire support women, men and children who have experienced or who are experiencing domestic violence or abuse in their relationships. This can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. Statistics indicate that 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 3 from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities will experience domestic violence and abuse at some point in their lifetime.

Funded by Hampshire County Council the service provides free and discreet support, advice and refuge to victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Last year You First worked with over 2,000 people who had experienced domestic violence and abuse in Hampshire and Councillor Terri Reid visited the refuge to understand the work first-hand through meeting workers and domestic violence and abuse survivors.

Commenting on Councillor Terri Reid’s visit, the Head of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department, Tonia Redvers, stated: “It is brilliant that Terri came to visit the refuge, YOU is always very happy to welcome Councillors to the refuge to meet the people we work with and understand the issues they are facing. Refuge accommodation is vital for some people who are fleeing domestic violence – it offers a place of safety for both adults and children and gives them time to come to terms with what they have experienced. Refuge is more than a roof over their heads, it gives people the space to stop and think about their future and, when ready, we can keep working together when moving on into the community to live a life free of abuse.”

Since visiting the refuge Councillor Terri Reid has added: The Council is committed to preventing homelessness and supporting vulnerable people and I am delighted to be able to see again at first hand the vital specialist work being undertaken by the YOU Trust to support some of our most vulnerable residents. Domestic Abuse is a significant cause of homelessness; the fact that there is a range of alternative good quality options and support for victims and their families means they can receive a service most suited to their needs.”


If you are think you are experiencing domestic violence and abuse, please contact YOU First on 0330 016 5112. For emergency assistance, always dial 999 first.