Google translate Google translate
click to choose
Colour contrast Contrast
Font size Text size
Toggle search
  • Date: 04/03/2024

Honeycomb Group champions women who have experienced homelessness this International Women's Day

This International Women's Day we're celebrating the ‘strong and inspirational’ women that we support via our homelessness specialist, Concrete.

Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Concrete's 24/7 female scheme provides a home for 17 local women who have experienced homelessness and multiple disadvantages. It’s part of Destination:Home, a city-wide homelessness partnership, led by Concrete, that provides round the clock support to people in housing crisis.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Concrete has launched a fundraising campaign to help female customers access volunteer, training and work opportunities, develop skills, confidence and help them reach their next chapter.

It’ll support customers like Ellie, whose name has been changed to protect her identity. She moved into Concrete’s female scheme last year after experiencing domestic violence from her ex-partner. She has shared her story, in her own words, for International Women’s Day.

“Five years ago I was living in Stafford, near to my daughter and grandson. While I was there I reconnected with Craig (name also changed), my on-off partner of 18 years.

“We got back together and I decided to move back to Stoke with Craig as he needed to receive treatment in the city for a health condition. I was offered other places to live, but I decided to stay in Stoke to be with him.

“When we moved back to Stoke, Craig returned to substance misuse. He was abusive towards me and I couldn’t take it anymore so I left. I ended up living on the streets – then I was referred to Concrete.”

After being street homeless, Ellie was nervous about moving into her own space and managing her own accommodation.

“When I first moved in I felt scared. That’s because I was so used to being outdoors and for me, a tenancy was a real commitment.

“I’ve been here for six months now and it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed somewhere, so I feel really proud. It’s a huge personal achievement for me and it feels good.

“I have received lots of support since being here. Even though I have a specific worker that was allocated to me, I feel like I can talk to any of the staff. I feel safe here, but I’d like to take the next step soon and move on.”

Ellie has faced challenges in her life, but she says they have made her stronger and more hopeful for the future.

“My resilience is much stronger since being with Concrete. There have been times I’ve felt like leaving, due to arguments between myself and other residents, but every time I left and headed to the bus stop, I always turned back.

“Now I think about my future, rather than just the present. I think about what I want to achieve when I move on.”

Simon Blight, David Halliday, Mariana Sabova and Adrian Stowe

For Scheme Manager David Halliday and his team, International Women’s Day is more than just a one-day celebration. He said: “We’re proud to support women like Ellie, who have been through so many disadvantages but never give up. For us, International Women’s Day is all about celebrating strong and inspirational women, which is something we do every single day at our scheme.”

Operations Manager Mariana Sabova added: “We keep our ladies safe, encourage them, support them and help them become the best version of themselves that they can possibly be. It’s truly a privilege to be part of their journey and we’re always filled with pride when they move on to their next chapter.”

Concrete has launched a fundraising campaign to help their female customers access volunteer, training and work opportunities - click here to find out more and donate.