Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000

Description

‘MASH are the only family I’ve got - they've saved my life so many times’ said Claire*, age 47, when asked to describe MASH. MASH is an amazing charity in Manchester that helps women who sex work (in prostitution) take control of their lives.

Each year MASH helps hundreds of women. Every day MASH staff and volunteers meet women trapped in poverty and addiction, suffering from violence, with mental health issues, anxious about debts or worried about where they are going to sleep that night.

MASH run a safe & modern Drop-In Centre where women can access a full range of support – everything from a simple hot meal and a chat, to 1-on-1 help from an experienced Case Worker who can support women with addictions, mental health issues or finding a home.

But often our first contact with women who are street sex working is through the MASH Van. A dedicated team of staff and volunteers take the MASH Van out, late at night, to reach the most vulnerable women on the streets.
For many women the MASH Van is their ONLY support. Although sex work is legal in the UK some women are worried that they will be judged if they turn to mainstream organisations for help, and so they avoid support.

The staff and volunteers on the MASH Van are used to seeing women in crisis, with nowhere to live and no confidence to start re-building their lives. They offer women a life-line of practical support including:

• Distributing over 20,000 free condoms each year – enabling the women to be healthy & practice safe sex.
• Provide help into emergency accommodation – helping women to be safe.
• Provide hot drinks & snacks – the MASH refreshments make a real impact on women's health.
• Listen – take the time to chat to women and refer them to the in-depth services available at the MASH Drop-In Centre.

This year is MASH’s 25th Anniversary and we can celebrate with many of the women we have helped along the way. Lucy* said ‘ MASH helped me finish street working two years ago and apply for 'normal' jobs. I see my life differently; it's a big change since I stopped working. I will NEVER go back to that work, it's not worth it. I did it because I didn't have any money, now I hope to get a job.’ But there is a lot more work to be done and we need help and support to run the MASH Van to reach women like Lucy and Claire.

£4,850 would keep the MASH Van on the road for a year, covering all the costs like rental and petrol. Usually the MASH Van reaches around 250 women in a year.

Please help us keep this crucial resource available for women in our community with no-where else to turn.

MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health)

Moment of Pride

MASH have a small staff team of 10 people, without our 65 dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers we would not be able to deliver support to the 800 women we see each year. We were so pleased that the volunteering team's efforts were recognised last year with a local and national volunteering award.

Location: Greater Manchester, United Kingdom