‘On my first day at Ella’s, it felt like being welcomed home. I felt safe. I slept that night for the first time in two weeks.’
Sharon, safe house resident
Safe housing and long-term support for women who have survived trafficking and exploitation helps prevent them from being pushed back into danger and exploitation.
Ella’s runs two safe houses in London, housing eight women and provides intensive and tailored support to each individual, with each resident having a caseworker to support them in their recovery, and make goals and plans for the future when they’re ready.
Fire safety is a key part of helping the residents feel secure and Ella’s applied to QHT for help with this and to extend capacity by adding another bedroom.
[April 2021]: £8,000 grant for fire risk assessments and new alarm systems and an additional bedroom.
The two safe houses run by Ella’s are now better equipped and safer for the women who live there, providing spaces that are both rehabilitative and secure.
Ella’s is a small-scale provider which supports women in their transition away from abuse and exploitation and back into the world and so directly meets our criteria. We liked this particular project as it was clearly defined and important for the residents’ safety and peace of mind.
‘It’s amazing to me that I have people in my life here who care about making my room look nice!’ said Marie, when she painted her room with Safe House Manager, Layla. ‘This is the best place I’ve lived. Since I came to Ella’s, I haven’t been admitted into hospital once.’
Marie is a survivor of trafficking, still in her early 20s. She grew up in another country and was sexually exploited from childhood. She was never really free.
When she arrived Marie’s mental health was in a bad way and she lacked the basic life skills she needed to live safely.
Today, Marie is living a different story. The care and community she’s experienced, together with the mental health support we’ve helped her to access, have changed everything for her.
Marie is still living in our safe house, but has reached the stage where we can help her make goals for her future. We’ve supported her to take up a part-time job in a supermarket, and begin studying at university.
‘For women like Marie, our safe houses are a lifeline,’ says Minke van Til, Co-Director at Ella’s. ‘Our work is only possible thanks to grants like this one from QHT. Thank you so much for helping us to provide the best possible care for women like Marie.’