In some parts of the world, being a woman puts you at a disadvantage.
Like in Sussex.
We’re Brighton Women’s Centre and we’ve been supporting self-identifying women in Sussex for over 40 years. We help women from all backgrounds, facing all kinds of issues, to live happier lives. Women dealing with bereavement or trauma, women who have been through homelessness or the criminal justice system, survivors of abuse or discrimination – we’ve welcomed them all.
Latest BWC statement on violence against women.
When you come to us, we’ll start by getting to know you: your challenges and your hopes. And wherever you’ve come from, whatever you’re dealing with, we’ll only ever treat you with respect, understanding and compassion.
Please note the change in how we deliver our services due to the coronavirus. Select this document for an update.
Our Telephone Support & Information service and Online Chat is open three days a week to women in need of emotional support, advice and information. Read more.
Our face to face drop-in services are temporarily closed due to Covid-19.
Please call our Support & Information line instead on 07842 311406
during the following hours:
This service is open to all women in need of emotional support, advice and information.
During these times our trained volunteers are on hand to offer support and information. Many women call in need of a kind ear or a supportive voice, or information on specialist services. Women can also be linked in with other BWC services, for example our food bank or therapeutic support via the support line.
For further information please contact [email protected]
We offer a confidential and non-discriminatory environment.
Our 50+ group has moved to over the phone and online support. The group will receive updates with resources including mental health and wellbeing packs, articles and recipes. If you would like more information please contact Tracey Waters (group facilitator) on 07463288007 or email [email protected]
The foodbank is open on Wednesday afternoons and is accessible via prior appointment. Women can self-refer during phone line times, or can email [email protected]
N.B. Please note that this service is dependent on volunteer availability. Whilst we endeavor to run our services each week as stated above, occasionally we will have to close at limited notice; for example, in the event of volunteer shortages.
“Drop-in makes me very happy, I have made new friends and it is a lovely caring social environment. I feel I have new family each time I visit.”
Helen, Peer group Drop-in
You can now talk to a member of staff via the Talk to Us bar on the bottom right of our website. This will be open for two hour slots on both Monday and Thursday:
This service is open and free to all women in need of emotional support, advice and information.
During these hours, staff members will be on hand to offer support and provide information about specialist organisations, without the need of a face-to-face or phone conversation. Much like the helpline, we offer a confidential and non-discriminatory environment.
For further information please contact Martha Schlee-Bamford on 07523518297 or email at [email protected]
Inspire is a multi-agency partnership lead by BWC supporting women with multiple vulnerabilities at all stages of involvement in the criminal justice system. Read more.
We know that women who have most often experienced a lifetime of trauma and abuse can get caught up in the Criminal Justice System. Many of these women have had difficult experiences growing up, when those caring for them have themselves struggled as carers. This sometimes results in women feeling let down by the services and systems in their adult lives which are there to keep them safe.
Many of the women we support have complex needs stemming from poor or no housing, living in poverty, poor mental health, domestic abuse, being substance-affected and without access to services.
Because we understand that so many of the women we support are suffering from trauma because of their experiences, we prioritise listening to them and believing them; this enables us to give them the support they need to regain control over their lives.
We know that the Criminal Justice System is in the main set up by and for men, although women with complex needs often get involved in it. We use our extensive experience in getting to the root causes of complex needs to support women going through the criminal justice system to access the support they need when they need it. We understand that every woman has strengths and abilities and we help her to build on those strengths and to increase her feelings of self-worth and build up her resilience so she can start to change her future.
The relationship between each woman and her skilled and experienced women’s support worker is at the heart of our approach. This allows each women to build a relationship based on trust, which helps her feel safe.
Because we know that each woman is the expert in her own life, we decide everything together. This gives her the power to recognise her strengths, realise that she has choices, and choose to accept the practical and emotional support she needs. Experience shows that, to last and help her move away from a damaging past, change has to come from a collaboration between the woman and her case worker.
We know that feeling safe, physically and psychologically, is essential for women who are vulnerable, and that the Criminal Justice System’s standard provision can be very hard for women to deal with. Fighting for social justice and advocating for gender equality, we identify what needs to change. Being able to go to a safe women-only environment where you will be supported is essential for women to start the process of change. Inspire’s work in developing women-only hubs across Sussex ensures women can access many different services.
90% of service users stated the support they received was ‘hugely significant’ in enabling them to build a positive future.
Service users repeatedly tell us that it is the relationship with their worker that has been instrumental in them being able to bring about change in their lives.
Contact details and working hours for Inspire Brighton:
[email protected] / 07718208945 – 9 to 5pm Monday to Friday and every alternate week Tuesday to Friday.
Contact details and working hours for Inspire East Sussex:
[email protected] / 07463264108 – 8am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Contact details and working hours for West Sussex:
Inspire West Sussex to be directed to:
ToyBox is Ofsted-registered pre-school offering quality early years education in a caring and learning environment. Read more.
ToyBox is currently closed due to COVID-19. We have a waiting list for our return. If you are interested in using our service, please contact us at: [email protected]
ToyBox staff are striving to keep a community feel through this time by offering parents times they can phone in if they need support with routine and engagement. BWC is committed to ensuring that ToyBox is still a part of our families routine, especially due to the nature of the families with vulnerabilities we support.
ToyBox will be using Famly, social media platforms such as Facebook and Phone support.
Staff will ensure daily activities will be uploaded onto Famly (a platform much like slack that is designed for EYFS curriculum and monitors learning outcomes and individual next steps).
Staff have been working hard on using online platforms such as our Facebook page to deliver support and consultancy during the pandemic to help parents feel less isolated and keeping children motivated and engaged.
For more information please click the link below or contact:
Gemma Turner, the ToyBox Manager: [email protected]
ToyBox is an Ofsted-registered early years setting, which received an ‘Outstanding’ grade in our last report. We offer high-quality early years education in a caring and exciting learning environment, specialising in trauma-informed practice. We welcome all families in Brighton and Hove and believe in offering families the wrap-around care they deserve.
We offer a free-flow learning environment which philosophies of Reggio Emilia. We offer child-led activities including: loose parts, messy play, imaginative play, sensory play, discussion tables, music, puzzles and stories. We also visit our surrounding communities which include trips to local parks, museums, library and linking in with music groups.
STARS Award (Sustainable Travel and Road Safety)
ToyBox is thrilled to have been given a Bronze award for the STARS program which is a Department for Transport initiative to encourage safe and healthy travel options.
You can download a copy of our latest Ofsted report here.
Our sessions run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 2pm, term-time only. Please email [email protected] to arrange a taster session.
£5.50 per hour to be paid on the day of each session. The shortest session available is 2 hours.
We also offer alternative funding at £4.50 an hour. Please speak to Gemma (ToyBox Manager) for more information.
Early Years Free Entitlements (EYFE)
Free funding for up to 15 hours per week is available for children ages 2-5 years old. Staff can help you apply for EYFE.
Parents can access ‘tax- free’ childcare and could be entitled to help towards cost of childcare.
The Family Information Service list ToyBox in their online directory. They can also help you apply for funding.
‘He feels enormously at ease with the staff, who are very attentive to his individual needs. The centre provides a safe and caring atmosphere and he often comes home with stories or songs.’
‘She really enjoys her time at ToyBox; her social skills have improved and she now enjoys playing with other children. Her confidence has vastly improved and she is a very happy little girl.’
For further information please contact the ToyBox at: [email protected]
Women's Accommodation Support Service (WASS) supports women who are homeless and insecurely housed. Read more.
Coupling up: The danger of being a woman on the streets
At BWC (Brighton Women’s Centre), we have been supporting women facing all kinds of social injustice and trauma for over 40 years. Many of the women we work with are or have been homeless, so we are pleased to be hosting a workshop at Homeless Link’s national conference ‘Supporting Women Experiencing Homelessness’.
Whilst we are not exclusively a homeless service, it would be near impossible for us to have ignored the growing issue of homelessness in Sussex and across the country and how this is having an impact on women in our communities. Our work has made us more aware of women who are sleeping rough, their specific support needs and their known connections with men also living on the street.
Homeless couples living on our streets, although not a new phenomenon, has increased as the numbers of women sleeping rough has grown in number. However, with very little guidance available on how to help homeless couples, we were certain this was something that would benefit from greater research and attention.
With funding and support from Commonweal Housing, we commissioned Homeless Link to research the topic in greater depth, to shed light on the nature and origins of those relationships. The result is our report ‘Couples First? Understanding the Needs of Rough Sleeping Couples’.
Input from homeless services across the county stated that most of these relationships contain elements of abuse, violence, crime, drugs, sex work and/or exploitation. As a result, most couples on the street are seen as too volatile to be supported by traditional homelessness services, leading to them being rejected entry for a night’s stay at a shelter for example.
However, many of these relationships are not consenting in the traditional sense. Many of the women in these relationships will have entered into the relationship for protection.
Denying women access to shelter can be detrimental to their overall safety, not least because it means they must spend another night on the streets – frighteningly, life expectancy for a women living on the streets (43 years) is even lower than that of a man (47 years). In the case of females in rough sleeping couples, the situation is more complicated. By offering no support, women are forced to remain in unsafe and abusive relationships and given no safe pathway out of the situation.
Instead, our research suggests that rather than immediately denying couples access to support, taking a ‘Couples First’ approach can return better outcomes for both people in the relationship. By this, we mean treating the couple as a couple, supporting them together and individually, to ensure positive and safe outcomes.
We know that most women who are homeless suffer from trauma and abuse, poor mental and physical health, substance misuse, poverty, isolation and unemployment.
For further information please contact Lisa Dando, Director at [email protected]
Women who are vulnerable in so many ways can find life very challenging. The Women’s Accommodation Support Service (WASS) aim to transform women’s lives, supporting them to move into positive futures where they can each lead a full and rewarding life.
We have been doing so using an intensive case work approach since 2009. We are highly effective in supporting women to bring about lasting change. Our approach is underpinned the following principles:
Homeless services are in the main set up by and for men, but we know that women with complex needs often become homeless. We have extensive experience of getting to the root causes of homeless women’s needs so we can help them to access the right support at the right time.
We know that feeling safe, physically and psychologically, is essential for women who are vulnerable, and many women struggle to engage with the standard provision for the homeless. Being able to access support in a safe women-only environment is a crucial first step for women to bring about change. WASS are committed to working in partnership to develop women-only hubs across Sussex. This ensures women can access many different services and helps other providers to be more flexible in their responses to women with complex needs.
The relationship between the worker and woman is at the heart of our approach. Women engage in one-to-one support with a skilled and experienced women’s support worker. Developing a safe, trusting relationship empowers each woman to re-connect with her strengths, recognise her choices, engage with practical and emotional support and ultimately move away from damaging lifestyles.
We recognise that most of the women we support have experienced abuse and trauma as children and or as adults. By taking women’s experiences of trauma into account we prioritise listening to our clients, believing them and supporting them to regain control of their life.
We see each woman as the expert in her own life. Experience shows us that for change to be sustainable it must be a collaboration between the woman and her case worker.
We recognise that each woman has assets and resources. We support her to enhance her resilience and self-worth and identify her key strengths that will support her to build a positive future.
87.5% of women were securely accommodated as a result of their engagement with WASS in West Sussex.
“I have started college, found a home and got to keep my dog with me…. I am expanding my hobby into a self-employed small business.”
WASS is being delivered in Worthing, Hastings and Brighton with developments in Eastbourne under way.
In addition to one-to-one support, our WASS Hubs in Hastings, Eastbourne and Worthing are continuing to offer casework support remotely by phone or email during Covid restrictions.
All enquires for the WASS should be directed to:
Email inbox and voicemail are checked twice weekly, so please leave a name and contact details and one of the team will make contact with you!
Women’s Zoom Hub 2.30-3.30pm every Wednesday
Email: [email protected]
East Sussex WASS are continuing to take casework referrals in Eastbourne and Hastings
Brighton Housing Surgery from 2.00 – 4.00pm every Wednesday
Come along to a safe space where you will be gently guided to connect with your body and your breath through our range of holistic groups and treatments. Read more.
This service is currently paused.
For more information please contact Charlotte on: Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 07463 248 530
A 30 minute practice to release and reset. We combine cathartic movement, breath work and meditation. By opening up our joints and shaking out tension we create space for increased energy flow, and then through mindful breathing, we slow down the mind and body to better reconnect with ourselves.
This is a guided, dropin group, every Friday, 12 – 12.30 pm.
For more information and joining details, contact Jane on 07762 893931 or email [email protected]
Ever been curious about keeping a personal journal or diary? Would you like to know more about writing as a way of making sense of things, developing your intuition or expressing your feelings?
I liked learning about different styles and being inspired to write.
Write for Life at Brighton Women’s Centre is a creative writing project centred on the art of creative journaling. Our groups and workshops provide a fun, safe space to explore how writing and journal keeping supports self-care, wellbeing and creativity. There are lots of ideas on getting started as well as tips and techniques to keep things interesting and stay motivated!
The group has a cosy, creative, friendly atmosphere.
If you’re worried about your reading or writing skills – please don’t be. These groups are for all levels. No experience is needed and there will be no pressure to share your work.
Group Times & Dates:
Details of upcoming groups will be posted here soon. Or you can email [email protected] to be added to our mailing list for updates.
I most liked the interaction with other women, sharing insights and experiences.
I wish I had found out about this group sooner, so please run it again!
Mentors offer support to their peers to increase connection and overcome difficulties. Read more.
During Covid restrictions the peer to peer support service is meeting online.
For more information contact Jane, the Peer to Peer Support Co-ordinator:
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 07762 893931
BWC’s women’s peer to peer support service is about group activities in a safe environment. You decide the types of activities you want. These can be wellbeing and recovery discussions, creative or social sessions. The emphasis is on caring for and connecting with each other. Currently the peer groups are meeting online via Zoom.
This is for women who have engaged with BWC’s or other community services across Brighton and Hove who are seeking further participation and support.
Being involved either as a peer participator or a peer facilitator, you will have the chance for:
The Women’s Peer to Peer Support Coordinator will organise, facilitate and provide support throughout. There will be group training from BWC for the peer facilitators.
To find out more contact Jane on 07762893931 or [email protected]
This group offers a safe, inclusive and non-judgemental space for women to share creative ideas, conversation and plan for future group activities. The aim is that the group is yours and will adapt to meet the needs and expectations of those who participate. Currently the groups run online, via Zoom.
To find out more contact the 50+ Group Facilitator, Tracey on 07463288007 or [email protected]
This group is part of Brighton & Hove’s citywide Ageing Well initiative. To find out more please click on the logo below.
We are now taking referrals for our therapy service and welcome you to complete a referral form. Read more.
Looking for someone to talk to you? We are here for you.
We are now taking referrals for our therapy service and welcome you to complete a referral form, after which you will be invited to attend an exploratory assessment to establish whether therapy is the right course of treatment for you at this time.
We offer short-term therapy to all self-identifying women and are able to offer a combination of talking therapy and movement psychotherapy.
All our therapists are self-identified women and are qualified or attending postgraduate counselling and psychotherapy courses.
We offer 12 weeks of support, with fees operating on a sliding scale depending on your household income.
Currently all counselling and movement psychotherapy is being delivered online via zoom or over the telephone.
For more information or a referral form, please contact Charlotte Almond on;
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07463 248 530
“The food bank enables me not to have to worry so much about bills; which has reduced stress, worry and improved my health. Everyone (staff and service users) are friendly and attentive to needs. It’s a very welcoming and non-judgemental place.”
Anna, service user
Together we can change lives – and change society. When a woman becomes strong and independent, she doesn’t just change her own life. She helps change the attitudes and behaviours around her, building a society that is more diverse, more inclusive – and better for all of us, men and women alike.
Would you consider making us your chosen charity at your workplace? Or joining our Fundraising & Communications Group? Read more
We are looking for part-time volunteers to join our Fundraising & Communication Group. This group meets online one evening a month. The group’s primary purpose is to plan, coordinate and execute various fundraising events over the year. Events are used to increase visibility and support for BWC as well as raise funds.
For further information please contact Emma Walsh, Volunteer Services Co-ordinator [email protected]
A huge amount of the work BWC does is only possible because of the commitment and dedication of dozens of volunteers who offer their time and expertise to support BWC and the women who use it. Read more
We are not currently looking for new volunteers, and are unable to accept applications outside of designated recruitment periods.
For clinical counseling placements please refer to the Therapy Services section on our website or contact Charlotte Almond, the Therapeutic Services Manager on [email protected]
Are you interested in joining our team? Read more
Chief Operating Officer
BWC is looking for an outstanding Chief Operating Officer (COO) to support the Director and lead on trauma informed development and operational issues, ensuring that organisational goals are achieved through effective management practices and that staff are motivated and supported to build strategic, long-term and sustainable services.
We are looking for someone who will sustain and develop BWC’s trauma informed culture of continuous improvement, modelling and sharing the values of the organisation as we work together to support women and children with multiple vulnerabilities. If you have excellent interpersonal skills, a can-do attitude, and the experience and confidence to oversee a wide range of strategic and operational objectives, then we would love to hear from you.
For an informal chat about the COO role please contact [email protected] Tel; 07702879104.
For further information on the role please download the job application pack here. To apply please complete an application form and a equalities monitoring form and return these to [email protected] before the deadline.
Closing date: 9am 24th May
Interview date: 3rd and 4th May
BWC recently hosted our Annual General Meeting, where we shared our thoughts, reflections and key learnings gained from working throughout the covid-19 pandemic. See the graphic capture here.
BWC, alongside 4 other women’s centres, has recently launched a report with the Women’s Budget Group to explain why we are asking for a #NewDeal4WomensCentres. The briefing argues the case for investing in a sustainable model for women’s centres that are at risk of closure from lack of secure funding. Read the full report here.
BWC has been working with the team from Homeless Stories who spent time at our centre, filming the personal stories of some of the women we support. These films give insight into our work and the hopes and aspirations of homeless people beyond the stereotypes. We thank the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales for making this possible. View the videos here.
Keep up to date with the latest BWC news on our Twitter feed.
“Volunteering at BWC has been a truly enriching experience for me. To be a part of such a passionate, diverse and dedicated organisation has supported and inspired me on both a professional and personal level. It has provided a safe, supportive and encouraging environment where my confidence and skill set as a practitioner have been able to grow.”
Sara, Holistic Therapy volunteer
Nobody knows exactly what it’s like to walk a mile in your shoes.
But we’ll walk the next mile with you.
For general enquiries:
For management and media enquiries:
Lisa Dando, Director
For volunteering enquiries:
Emma Walsh, Volunteer Services Coordinator
For ToyBox Nursery
Gemma Turner, Manager
Find us at:
22 Richmond Place,
Brighton, BN2 9NA