Whispers of Hope

Whispers of Hope is an organization supporting vulnerable women and children based in Stoke-on Trent. Our vision is:

To preserve and protect health and relieve the needs of women in the UK who are victims of domestic abuse or sexual trafficking who also have immigration issues and no recourse to public funds.

Whispers of Hope was established as a response to follow the Gospel call to welcome the stranger and protect the most vulnerable. It started in May 2019 with a safe space weekly drop-in session where the women could be given safety advice and well-being activities as well as being sign posted to other agencies such as counsellors or immigration advisors. In November 2019 Avan House, the safe-house for Whispers of Hope was opened.

Avan House offers accommodation and practical, financial and emotional support to women who are victims of domestic abuse and sexual exploitation. They also have the added complication of complex immigration issues. The guests have no recourse to public funds and are therefore ineligible for support from the local council and other organisations such as refuges. Without the help offered to them to regularise their immigration status, thereby enabling them to access benefits, the women would be in danger of homelessness and all the dangers this entails. Volunteers support the women who live in Avan House through a be-friending scheme and a host who sleeps over a few nights a week. Other women who are supported by Whispers of Hope but who do not need accommodation are also supported by befrienders.

Many of the women supported by Whispers of Hope are victims of forced arranged marriages and honour based violence and their lives are in danger if they return to their country of origin. Women have been referred to Whispers of Hope by the Asylum Nursing Team in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire and Derbyshire Police, local Asylum and Refugee organisations and local domestic abuse charities. Whispers of Hope works in collaboration with many local agencies such as the Local housing office and the citizens advice bureau and also the Sisters of Mercy who have supported the setting up of Avan House.

Whispers of Hope operates entirely through the generosity of volunteers who give of their time, talents and skills. In order to support more women and children we would be grateful to hear from anyone who would be interested in supporting us either financially or as a volunteer.

Please contact:

Deana Korwin-Kochanowski   deanaK@whispersofhope.uk
Geraldine Sweeney                  


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