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About Us

A Way Out is an outreach and prevention charity which aims to engage, empower and equip vulnerable and excluded women, families and young people to live lives free from harm, abuse and exploitation and to reduce life limiting choices and behaviour.

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What is A Way Out

A Way Out is  an organisation of excellence, tackling and preventing exploitation of vulnerability of women and young people.

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We are an outreach and prevention charity which aims to engage, empower and equip vulnerable and excluded women, families and young people to live lives free from harm, abuse and exploitation and to reduce life limiting choices and behaviour.

Our service users include women and young people with substance misuse problems, involved with sex work, homeless or living on the streets, often engaged in offending or victims of abuse.

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A Way Out is based in Stockton on Tees at a support centre called The Gate.  This centre provides the base for many of our projects, offering a safe and secure place for women to come and receive support and get involved in a whole range of activities.

Our Ambition

A Way Out started in June 2002 when our founder, Jessie Jacobs, met a young girl walking the streets of Stockton trying to sell her body for sex.

That brief encounter motivated Jessie, two friends, and a small group of local people, united in their faith, to begin a project reaching out to these girls and helping them to find “A Way Out”.
 

Today, A Way Out continues to reach out to Stockton’s women and young people supporting them to live health, safe and whole lives.

A Way Out works in partnership with the relevant agencies and is supported by the local Christian community.

To hear some of the real life stories of the amazing women and young people we’ve worked with and our future vision, you can watch the video below.

Our Values & Beliefs

We believe that everyone should be able to live the life they choose without experiencing of fearing abuse, harm and exploitation.

We prevent abuse, harm and exploitation by empowering women, families and young people to have control over their lives and by tackling the injustice and inequality that they experience.

Our values are:

Compassionate: using a non-judgemental approach that builds on individual strengths and addresses recent and/or historic trauma.

Connecting: creating opportunities to access support through proactive outreach and by building trusting relationships

Caring: providing the right support at the right time in the right place whether someone is in crises, needing support or advocacy to address immediate needs, or ready to make lasting changes.

Choice: building hope for the future through individuals having the freedom to make informed decisions and opportunities to achieve their potential.

Community: enabling lasting change and providing support at times of need by building positive relationships with friends, family and the wider community.

Change: addressing the causes of injustice and inequality, and wider stigma and discrimination, by ensuring that learning from lived experience is used to change the language, behaviour and views, and process and systems, of other individuals and organisations.

Christian values of love, truth and justice underpin everything we do to support those with a Christian faith, another faith or no faith.

This includes working with other organisations to prioritise outreach, facilitate referrals, coordinate support and share learning to create new opportunities to prevent abuse, harm and exploitation and, particularly, to engage and support those whose needs are not met by other services.

Our priorities include working with:

  • the police, probation and others within the criminal justice system to reduce the risk of clients becoming a victim and/or perpetrator of crime and prevent reoffending - including creating new opportunities to address the causes and consequences of offending such as trauma.

  • local authorities, the NHS and their partners to ensure addiction, homelessness, mental health, poverty and other services provide coordinated and holistic support - including identifying and addressing unmet needs and gaps in provision or creating new opportunities for intervention/prevention.

  • charities and community groups to increase our impact through collaborative working including as a subcontractor to larger organisations delivering universal services - including providing additional support for clients with protected characteristics and/or high levels of unmet need and unmanaged risk.

Our strategic objectives:

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Finance and Funding Sub Committee

Priorities

review our processes and procedures, including internal meetings, to identify further efficiency savings.

explore opportunities to share 'back office' support with other organisations

consider other options for office / delivery space

ensure all services achieve a balanced budget within the financial year

increase our (particularly unrestricted) income from commissioning, fundraising and trading

continue to develop our planning and reporting to ensure effective and efficient financial management

Outcomes

reduce core costs and/or increase capacity to develop new opportunities

more flexible delivery of services and/or reduce costs

increased financial sustainability

sufficient resources to respond to the increasing and changing needs of those we support

proactive management of increasing financial risks

Working Together

Workforce Advisory Group

Priorities

continue to invest in staff skills and experience through in house and external learning and development opportunities

review contracts and job descriptions and provide training and supervision so staff can work across difference roles and teams

define core roles and move to permanent staff contracts wherever possible

increase staff capacity and/or secure partner support to expand the recruitment, training and supervision of volunteers

Outcomes

increased recruitment and retention

more efficient and effective delivery or services and opportunities for personal development

increased retention through greater job security

greater capacity to deliver our services and opportunities for volunteers to gain skills and experience

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Performance and Quality Advisory Group

Priorities

achieve the trauma quality mark

continue to develop our monitoring and evaluation methodology and review our key performance indicators

use wider learning to inform the ongoing development of our business plan/strategy

seek opportunities to influence others and share learning through external evaluation and research and/or networks, workshops and meetings

Outcomes

demonstrate that our trauma informed and responsive approach is integral to everything we do

informed decision making based on a greater understanding of the needs of those accessing our services and how best to meet them

develop innovative and creative solutions to the internal and external challenges we face

address injustice and inequality through wider system change by influencing the policy, procedures and practice of other organisations

Driven by Christian values:

A Way Out is a charity founded upon a Christian vision and is driven by Christian values. We do not expect all staff and volunteers to subscribe to the Christian faith, but to understand and acknowledge the Christian values which are at the heart of A Way Out…

We believe in the power of prayer and faith in our work amongst the most marginalised.  Hope gives us a vision of a changed life.  Faith helps us believe for it. We welcome staffvolunteers, supporters and service users from all faiths and denominations and those who are agnostic or atheist.  We do not expect anyone at A Way Out to subscribe to the Christian faith, but to understand and acknowledge our values.

What do we mean by Christian values? From its early beginnings the Church and later many Christian organisations have tried to reflect Jesus’ concern for the poor and marginalised.  It is this which is the basis of A Way Out’s thinking and actions as an organisation.

Love, compassion and  truth are values which the organisation seeks to demonstrate along with  a willingness to go the extra mile.

We acknowledge that these values of Love, Justice, Compassion, Truth and a willingness to see things through, are not exclusively Christian values, although in the case of A Way Out they are seen as values demonstrated by Christ, therefore we recruit and are glad to embrace those of other faiths or no faith, provided they are willing to practise these values and understand that A Way Out is organisation founded on a Christian ethos and driven by Christian values.

Strategy

Governance and Strategy Advisory Group

Priorities

combine Blossom, Evolve and VAWG into Unity

integrate the delivery of Liberty and Phoenix Women

develop a long term plan for our psychological service

establish RISE as an integral part of all our services

build our network or partners across the North East and beyond

expand the delivery of our services across Teesside and potentially the wider North East and Yorkshire and/or develop new services e.g. housing, mental health, training etc.

Outcomes

prevent abuse, harm and exploitation through coordinated outreach and support for children and young people

address abuse, harm and exploitation through coordinated outreach and support for women (including those within the criminal justice system

continue to develop our psychological pathway as an integral part of our services.

ensure families of those accessing our services can also access support

develop new opportunities for collaborative working and wider influence

address gaps in provision and unmet needs and reduce our reliance on a small number of funders and partners

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