A scheme to help street sex workers in Preston looks set to have a funding gap plugged by Preston City Council.Advertisement
The Foxton Centre has a shortfall of £15,000 for its Streetlink initiative.
Running for a number of years it supports women and men who work the streets and women who may be vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
Chief executive of the Foxton Centre Jeff Marsh has appealed for council help after a request for lottery funding was unsuccessful.
A report to the city council’s cabinet states an underspending in the housing advice and prevention of homelessness budget could be used as a one-off payment to support the project for nine months.
Funding has already been secured from Lancashire County Council’s public health of £12,000 with nurse time funded to £24,000. The Police and Crime Commissioner has offered £35,000 in funding.
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Jeff Marsh, chief executive officer at The Foxton Centre, said, “We found out our Streetlink Lottery funding wouldn’t be renewed at the last minute, so it looked like the service would have to close down. But we’re due to celebrate Streetlink’s 20th anniversary this year, and I thought, ‘I can’t let this happen on my watch’.
“After a lot of discussion with local partner agencies, the city Council and the county Council, we’ve managed to secure 12 months of funding, which will give us chance to make longer-term plans.
“So in the space of four weeks, we’ve gone from thinking we would lose our three Streetlink employees to needing to recruit for two new Making Every Adult Matter roles.”
It was launched in response to there being around 40 to 50 women, and occasionally men, engaged in sex work on the streets of Preston.
It wants to reduce sex working in Preston to as near zero as possible.
Streetlink workers include providing routes out of prostitution through on street contact, intensive support, prison visits, court advocacy, training and education.
A report to the council states: “It is about changing lives through non-judgemental relationship building outreach, leading to engagement with services and activities that creates a ‘virtuous’ circle of change.”
The video below helps explain what Streetlink does
Councillors will meet on Thursday (19 April) to discuss the report and whether to support the officer’s recommendation to help fund the service.
Additional reporting by Kate Rosindale