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Social Enterprise EncouragingHer – Survivors of Domestic Abuse Launch Crowdfunding Campaign

Last year StartUp Croydon had the pleasure of helping social enterprise EncouragingHer develop their services to support survivors of domestic abuse and on 31st March, EncouragingHer will be launching their first crowdfund in association with NatWest’s ‘Back Her Business’ initiative.  Read on to find out more about their exciting plans and how you can help them.

In the summer of 2018, Didi – a seasoned Digital Marketing Consultant and wife Priscilla Akutu-Carter – Management Consultant turned Coaching Psychologist, set up a pop-up shop within a large established women’s refuge in South London providing high quality new and nearly new women’s clothing and accessories. The event was a success and following an introduction to Clarion Housing Group’s William Sutton prize; the couple went on to develop a scalable concept, which addressed gaps within current provisions for female survivors of domestic abuse. By August of the same year, the couple submitted an outline business model and 5 year strategy to the William Sutton prize-judging panel and in November, they were awarded ‘Highly Commended for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ and a partnership with Clarion Futures charitable foundation. The journey had begun.

The Pilot

EncouragingHer is an exciting and innovative social venture, which is specifically designed to support female survivors of domestic abuse. In mid-2019, the couple ran a series of detailed workshops with industry experts from Croydon and Bromley local authority, well-established domestic abuse charities, Clarion Futures and a small team of survivors. These sessions form the basis of the EncouragingHer pilot, which is made up of 3 components;

– EncouragingHer Carebags: These are sustainable bags for life, packed with toiletries and essential feminine hygiene products. Each bag contains an anonymous message of hope.

– EncouragingHer Dressing Room: Through support and business mentoring from StartUp Croydon, Didi and Priscilla were introduced to major UK property development and investment firm Hammerson. The couple are currently in the final legal stages of acquiring a lease for a unit in South London. This component is an evolution from the original pop-up shop in 2018, offering women with a safe and secure space to access new and nearly new high quality clothing for their everyday needs.

– EncouragingHer Wellbeing (‘Beyond Surviving’): The first 16-week programme commenced in January 2020 and has attracted the interest of industry experts and academics. The current cohort consists of 18 women referred from across Croydon and Bromley.

Beyond Surviving is an evidence-based programme composed of a unique blend of positive psychology coaching and ecopsychology to support survivors in moving forwards with their lives. An outline of the programme was presented at the International Society of Coaching Psychology’s annual conference in October 2019 and an article was featured in the societies most recent issue of the societies journal – Coaching Psychology International. EncouragingHer is currently working in collaboration with the University of Greenwich to produce an academic study later this year, based on the results of our study.

The Future

On 31st March, EncouragingHer will be launching their first crowdfund in association with NatWest’s ‘Back Her Business’ initiative. This will be a game changer for the pilot and take the team one step further towards providing a service, which bridges the gap between digital innovation, evidence-based practice and social justice.

Find out more information at: Twitter: @encouragingher

Facebook (Private Community Group): Search EncouragingHer CommunityInstagram: @encouraging_her_collective

EncouragingHer crowdfunding page is now live: Please Click Here



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