As many of us head off home to spend time with our friends and family for Christmas, let’s also remember that many women and their families will have nowhere to go.
Today, a few days before Christmas, award-winning artist Ellie Goulding visited Church Army’s flagship project, the Marylebone Project, a women’s-only homeless shelter in London, to participate in Christmas-themed wellbeing activities celebrating pampering, wellness, self-care and renewal.
The Marylebone Project in Westminster has been supporting women to overcome homelessness for over 90 years. With 112 residential beds across two buildings and the only women’s-only homelessness centre open 24/7, the Marylebone Project is the largest and longest-running service of its kind in the UK.
Within this safe environment women rebuild trust, learn to re-engage with society and start to re-build their lives through the Project’s empowering, all-encompassing service provision. The Marylebone Project changes women’s lives long term - 95% of women maintain their independent move-on accommodation for at least a year. Marylebone Project is a flagship social action project of Church Army.
Goulding said: “The issue of vulnerable women affected by homelessness and how to support them has long been one close to my heart”
Goulding, who has been patron of the project since 2015, brought presents for the women who benefit from the Marylebone Project, which provides a safe environment for women to rebuild trust, re-engage with society and ultimately resettle in permanent accommodation.
Engaging in self-care activities with the women at the Project including hand scrubs, face masks and a time of reflection, Goulding said: “The issue of vulnerable women affected by homelessness and how to support them has long been one close to my heart. I love spending time here, being around these women is extremely grounding; they teach me so much and always give me a new perspective.
They are incredibly resilient – despite facing tough life challenges, they’re joyful and determined to rebuild their lives.
Read more on how charities are supporting women
”Homelessness has had a devastating impact on each of these women and one of the things that can often get overlooked when you don’t have a permanent place to live is self-care. So what we’re doing today is giving women a chance to have that warm, safe place and a nutritious hot meal, but also hosting this pampering day to help boost their confidence - reminding them that like every woman, they are worthy of a bit of fuss!
the Marylebone Project, is also about having an empowering and safe community to belong, connect
Today, and every day at the Marylebone Project, is also about having an empowering and safe community to belong, connect, and find a sense of personal renewal after such a huge upheaval in their lives.
Seeing the work of the staff helping vulnerable women in crisis to turn their lives around is something that will always inspire me, and I’m grateful to have gotten the opportunity to be with such incredible women today and to pay tribute to their achievements this year.”
As a difficult winter sets in, the Marylebone Project will continue to come alongside women in crisis – helping them feel safe, supported and not alone.