Night outreach is one of our longest-running services. From the yellow van, our teams provide food, safety information and crisis support to some of Bristol’s most marginalised women.
In December 2021 we extended the service from five to seven nights a week. Nine months on, in September 2022, our CEO Jenny and Volunteer Manager Kathryn reflected on what we’ve learned and why the van is still such a vital part of our support for women.
Seven reflections – one for every night.
Kathryn: “My first shift on the outreach van, I realised how much I didn’t know about the city I lived in. For me it was eye-opening to truly understand what was going on for the women we were meeting.”
Jenny: “When we were thinking about expanding the van service to the weekends, we asked the women what they thought. Many told us it was needed: that weekends felt less safe and there was nowhere to turn for help. One woman told us: ‘we call it suicide Sunday – there is no food.’”
Jenny: “The van is often the first place we meet a woman who’s involved in street sex work. We offer practical things like food, hot drinks, condoms, clean, safe injecting packs … We also provide safety advice – if there are perpetrators in the area we can inform women of that, and women can report incidents of violence or abuse to us. It’s a good opportunity to reduce the risk to women who are out there.”
Jenny: “What’s been amazing about the weekend service is having a team of workers who go out with the volunteers. Having that consistency is really important in building trust.”
Kathryn: “Many [van] volunteers have been volunteering for years: they give their time because they care about the women who are street sex-working.”
Kathryn: “The van has become an incredible offer of support when there’s not much else open.”
Jenny: “[The weekends are] a particularly isolating time, where the women don’t really get much support.”
Jenny: “The women tell us that the van is a crucial lifeline. They say that seeing the van driving round at night makes them feel safer.”
Kathryn: “It has a knack, I think, on certain shifts of feeling like it comes along just at the right time.”
Jenny: “It’s an opportunity to have a conversation with a woman. It might be having a moment of laughter or it may be supporting a woman who is having a difficult time.”
Kathryn: “There’s something quite significant about going and meeting people where they are, as opposed to sitting somewhere and expecting somebody to come to you.”
Kathryn: “We are continuing a legacy that has been going on for 27 years. Now we’ve got a van (outreach used to be on foot) but the need [of the women] hasn’t necessarily changed. The drive of the community in Bristol to continue to support the service also hasn’t changed. If anything, it feels like it’s grown. That feels pretty incredible.”
"The van is amazing. I'm so thankful you're here"- Kara
In September 2022, donations supporting outreach were matched by the Big Give Women & Girls Match Fund – doubling their value to One25. In just one week, our incredible community raised £14,644 to help us keep the van out every night until Christmas!
On the subject of Christmas…One25 is taking part in the annual Big Give Christmas Challenge from 29 November until 6 December, when donations can again be doubled!
This year the funds raised through the Challenge will support our drop-in – a safe space that many women come to after making contact with us on the van.
During the Christmas Challenge, you can donate to One25 through The Big Give website using a credit or debit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay. When you donate, our Big Give supporters and ‘champion’ funder will match your donation, doubling its value to One25!
Please note: only donations made through the Big Give website can be doubled.