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6 March, 2020
News Story


International Women’s Day, on 8th March, celebrates the achievements of women across the globe while helping to create gender parity. Here at Caritas Anchor House, 30% of our residents are women, and each day, we celebrate their personal achievements – whatever they may be.

Our female residents, and indeed all of our residents, have achieved so much in the face of adversity and we’re so inspired by them. For some, it might be escaping an abusive relationship, getting accepted on to a training course or securing a job, improving their confidence and wellbeing, or simply setting goals and thinking positively about the future.

Women experiencing homelessness can be particularly vulnerable, but yet there are thousands of women without a place to call home across our communities. The average age of death for women experiencing homelessness in the UK is just 43 years old. Women are also more likely to experience ‘hidden homelessness’, sleeping on the sofa of friends or family, or squatting. That’s the case for 41% of our women before they came to Caritas Anchor House, while a further 28% were sleeping on the streets before moving in. We know how difficult it can be to overcome the trauma of homelessness, and so work hard to ensure our service makes women feel comfortable and safe.

Not only are we inspired by our female residents, we’re also really lucky to work with such wonderful and dedicated women, each in different ways making a huge difference to those who need our help. Both across the sector and within our own walls – including our Chief Executive, and our frontline, fundraising and facilities teams. So today, we’re celebrating our colleagues too!

We spoke to some of our team about International Women’s Day:

“For me, International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the many fantastic women who work in the charity and homelessness sector, and the amazing women we support. This sector has a rich tradition of inspiring women who work tirelessly and with great compassion to support people going through extremely tough times, and I’d like to thank all the women I work with, in Caritas Anchor House and in the many organisations we work with.

“I also want to celebrate the women we support. At Caritas Anchor House, 30% of the people we support out of homelessness are women. Nearly all women who experience homelessness have also experienced abuse, and their strength, resilience and positivity is always an inspiration to me and the team. Happy International Women’s Day ladies!’ – Amanda, Chief Executive

“Working in the sector as a woman is invaluable and allows space for women accessing services – who may not feel comfortable being supported by a male colleague due to previous complex issues such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, and religious reasons – feel they have a space to discuss crucial issues that impact them.” – Naomi, Community Development Officer

“Caritas Anchor House provides the life skills that will aid the women to continue living independently once they leave us. An example of this are links put in place to give those who need budget and literacy life skills enabling them to face the challenges of living independently and ultimately help them into employment to break the debt cycle which lead them into homelessness in the first place.” – Kathy, Receptionist

Rosie* is one of the inspiring women who moved in to Caritas Anchor House. Rosie and her abusive ex-husband had been living in the kitchen of his mother’s over-crowded home for two years. She filed for a divorce, and became homeless.

Rosie was originally from Pakistan, where in some communities there are stigmas around divorce. She was considered a disgrace to her own family, and was ostracised. Since then, she developed problems with her physical and mental health. Rosie had lost all confidence, and didn’t know if her life was ever going to turn out how she’s always hoped.

However, since moving into Caritas Anchor House, Rosie has received support from her keyworker, and things are on the up. Her health and wellbeing has improved, she has built friendships and a network of support, and she is looking forward to the future.

“I feel so lucky to have my place here at Caritas Anchor House. They gave me a roof when I had nowhere. To have my own room is something completely new to me. My keyworker is great, and has helped me get a move-on flat to prepare me for when I move out into my own home one day. Now I can cook for myself, which has been important to improve my health.”

This #IWD2020 make a donation to help women, like Rosie, to rebuild their lives. To visit our JustGiving page, click here.

*name changed to protect our resident’s identity

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