Quality standard passed again!

We are very pleased to announce that Nottingham Women’s Centre passed the Matrix quality standard for advice, information and guidance services. The Matrix Standard is the unique quality standard for organisations to assess and measure their advice and support services, which ultimately supports individuals in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals. It is carried out every three years and is reviewed annually to ensure we are meeting all targets.

The assessor interviewed several service users and organisations that we work in partnership with. The feedback received was extremely positive. Here are some of the comments the assessor noted:

“They let me go at my own pace and that helped me to grow as a person.” (Client)

“The small groups are a good way for you to ease yourself into things.” (Client)

“I would have given up if I hadn’t had the help from here. It feels like somebody is holding
you so you feel safer.” (Client)

“You are heard and seen here. You are accepted for who you are.” (Client)

“The staff have all the information you need at their fingertips.” (Client)

“Nottingham Women’s Centre has a genuine desire to work with marginalised groups.” (Partner)

“Our work with the Centre is complementary and they are able to help when people do want to re-integrate into society. They can access friendships, solidarity and a safe environment. The work of the Centre is vast and they have a diverse client group so nobody feels judged.” (Partner)

“We respect each other’s aims and objectives. The door is always open and the staff are flexible and responsive.” (Partner)

This feedback is valuable to how we build our delivery and we will continue to work hard to ensure we meet the needs of both our clients and partners. A big thank you to everyone who took part.

Good news from Sara our Welfare Rights Advisor

December was a busy month for welfare rights advice at the Centre. When there are benefit claims to support women to make, and appeals on negative benefit decisions, I like to try and get them all done in time for Christmas in the hope that our women won’t be struggling quite so much during what is already a very difficult time of year for so many. I returned to work in the New Year and remembered where the on button for my computer was (and eventually my password too!), I discovered to my absolute delight that the December push had paid off, quite literally, bringing in a total of £31540.60 for our women.

Two of the women had received large backdated amounts into their bank accounts on 22nd December and were able to spend the holiday period in relative comfort compared to the hardship they had been previously been experiencing. Three of them were being expected to attend Job Centre appointments despite having very limiting disabilities and are now reassured by less pressure since having these decisions overturned. One of our women was relieved to find that we had appealed a benefit decision that means her rent account is now in credit by £533 after years of rent arrears and the resultant stress and insecurity.

Overall since starting at the Women’s Centre as part of the Help through Crisis project at the beginning of August, our women have seen benefit gain of £65184.47. The women I work with are all absolutely amazing and a privilege to work with. Often during sessions we agree that money is not the answer to all of the challenges they face but a necessary platform from which to exercise the kind of autonomy and empowerment that many take for granted.

Help through Crisis is funded by the Big Lottery.