Helping Young Girls and Women Live A Better Life
A Way Out started in June 2002 when their founder, Jessie Jacobs, met a young girl walking the streets of Stockton trying to sell her body for sex. That brief encounter motivated Jessie, two friends, and a small group of local people to begin a project reaching out to these girls and helping them to find ‘A Way Out’.
Today, A Way Out continues to reach out to Stockton’s women and young people supporting them to live lives free from harm, abuse and exploitation and to reduce life limiting choices and behaviour. Their service users include women and young people with substance misuse problems, involved with sex work, homeless or living on the streets, often engaged in offending or victims of abuse. A Way Out aims to engage, empower and equip these people to lead better lives.
Why It Matters:
Whilst A Way Out was doing essential work long before 2020 helping young people in the North East lead healthy, safe, and whole lives, the charities’ presence since the pandemic began is becoming ever more important.
They are experiencing unprecedented demand and complexity of cases due to increased unemployment and peoples’ usual pathways to emotional and financial support being cut off. Referrals because of poor mental health are on the rise too. This, coupled with restrictions, makes their traditional community fundraising impossible and has reduced long-term grant funding opportunities. This means organisations like A Way Out need our help now more than ever.