My great-grandmother worked abroad for a mother and baby unit for women who’d left street sex work. These values have been passed down generations. Decades later, my mother registered One25 as a charity when she was worked as a solicitor. She was so passionate about supporting vulnerable women.
I couldn’t wait to be old enough to volunteer for the van and drop-in.
I started volunteering for five or six years, then while I was living in London, I saw a job advertised at One25. I applied without hesitation and moved back to Bristol in a flash when I was offered the job!
This morning, I opened my emails to see an urgent message from a production company wanting to feature One25 in a documentary. Overseeing this involves liaising with, and balancing the needs of the film makers, our caseworkers, service users and volunteers who might be in on the day of recording.
Some women are very keen to raise awareness and show the real people behind the sex work/addict labels, but I need to make sure they maintain their anonymity (no faces, identifying tattoos, etc) and also double check with the casework team that they are giving informed consent: that they are not too vulnerable to take part. It needs to be beneficial for their journey. I have written guides and policies on service users involvement in our publicity and send these to the media when we receive these requests and remind staff at One25 about them.
So after sorting out the documentary work this morning, I next met with you, Caroline, (Volunteer Manager) about the volunteer newsletter, and then met with our intern Fran, to plan the next training session for our amazing speaking volunteers.
Before lunch, I’ll be running a short training session for our admin, fundraising and communications team on editing our web pages to improve our search engine optimisation so that people who are new to One25 can find us easily online.
This afternoon, I’ll continue working on the annual report – due out next month. I need to make sure that all voices are represented including service users, caseworkers, supporters and volunteers.
I have been working closely with our design company, Atomic Smash, on creating our volunteers’ internal website so that volunteers can see training or supervision dates and book online, download resources and find each other on the volunteer directory. I’ll send our volunteer testers a log-in and set of questions so that we can find out whether the site works for them before going live.
Yes, there is a lot of variety in my job. I also manage some excellent communications volunteers who have specialist skills. For example, one is an expert in digital and social media; I’ve learnt so much from her, another is a professional copywriter who has been helping me with the annual report content.
I couldn’t do my job at all without the help of volunteers.
It’s important for the safeguarding of the women to keep them anonymous in any publicity. We can’t use images or videos that identify them, so it’s a challenge to convey personalities that people can relate to. Working around this involves consultation with women and the media to make sure those women are safe. For example we can overcome this by filming the backs of heads or hands moving…but if we’re not comfortable about a request, we don’t go for it, as women’s safety is paramount.
I am passionate about the cause. Volunteering at One25 instilled in me a strong respect for the women we support and a hatred of the stigma, discrimination and the abuse that they receive. Here we all share a strong belief that the women deserve so much more. My role means I can be a real part of that change.
I have a toddler.
No, not always, but I do enjoy revisiting things that I did as a child, like reading We’re Going On a Bear Hunt and having a good excuse to go to Bristol Zoo! Once she’s asleep I also do yoga and am in a book club.