We spoke to Lorna, a keyworker at our Bridgwater Women’s Centre about why she is so passionate about her job.
“I think the best way to explain why my job is so important to me is to talk about our clients. Women like Jenny*.
Prior to lockdown, Jenny struggled for many years with using substances to mask the pain of her past traumas. She continuously felt that her drug use was the only thing in her life that was fully in her control.
Due to previous incidents of drug usage and anti-social behaviour, the local authority were unable to offer her any accommodation and she was street sleeping.
She was trapped in a cycle of custodial sentences, drug usage to forget the pain, sex working and petty crime to fund her drug addiction.
When lockdown started, the local authorities accommodated every person who was homeless in the area, which was fantastic news, especially for Jenny! She was accommodated and put on a two-weekly prescription of methadone.
After four weeks from being taken into accommodation, she was offered a permanent room licence with the accommodation provider. She is taking her methadone daily and says, ‘It’s nice to choose what time I take it and not when I can get to the chemist’.
She is also now seeing her son every Friday afternoon and is able to put him to bed at bedtime. She told me: ‘this is the first time in ages that I feel like I have some control’.
When people ask me why I do this job, I usually reply: ‘because every woman matters’. But it is so much more than that. The outcomes I described above may not seem much to some people but I am proud of everything we achieve for the women who come to us.
Jenny has finally been given the empowering gift of choice, and she chooses to sustain her accommodation, methadone prescription and contact with her son. She is now choosing to live, not just to exist and that’s exactly why I come to work every day!
*Not her real name.