Helping vulnerable women to gain control

Porsha Nunes-Brown, Network Development Officer

Women@thewell helps 250 vulnerable women every year. They provide a safe space for vulnerable women with complex needs. Women@thewell cater to women affected by street based prostitution, homelessness, mental health and trafficking.

The centre is ran by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers who support and empower women to take control of their lives, with providing help accessing health services, securing accommodation and assistance with receiving the right benefits and debt management.

I spoke with Caroline Hattersley, Head of Services, about the essential work carried out by Women@thewell and her future plans for the organisation.

On a daily basis, 15-40 women visit the centre. I was extremely impressed by the range of activities and services offered including:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Cookery
  • Gardening
  • Employment workshops
  • Reflexology
  • Sewing
  • Tai chi

Creativity and change

During my visit, I was able to see the various ways women were able to showcase their creativity from the walls of paintings to the number of musical instruments available to be played. Women@thewell truly embody their mission of providing a holistic service to disadvantaged and vulnerable women.

The drop centre is open Monday-Friday 12:30-3:30. The centre is open to all vulnerable women on Wednesday afternoons.

I spoke to a few women about their lives and aspirations. One woman, Patricia, passionately discussed her love and commitment for her two children and how she was coping with how they were growing up so quickly.

I was truly moved by Sarah, her determination and warm spirit were inspiring and endearing. Despite facing multiple challenges, she had found a way to harness her creativity through the making of jewellery. She had a bag full of earrings – all different colours and sizes, which she regularly sells at local markets. It was truly uplifting to witness someone refusing to be defined by her circumstances and utilising her talents to better her life.


To further assist women in need, Women@thewell have built partnerships with a range of agencies including domestic violence services, drug support services, street outreach teams and probation services.

Women@thewell has been a CSAN member since 2012. We worked together on the ratification of The Modern Slavery Bill which was passed in March 2015.

What I truly took away from my visit at Women@thewell was there is a critical need for holistic support services for women and we must continue as a community to invest in our women’s aspirations and wellbeing. This is eloquently articulated by the following quote by Liya Kebede, maternal health advocate:

“Investing in women’s lives is an investment in sustainable development, in human rights, in future generations – and consequently in our own long-term national interests”.

To find out more about Domestic violence and vulnerable women, check out the Women@thewell website

The names in this article have been changed to protect the anonymity of the women discussed.


The views expressed in this blog are not CSAN policy.