Accommodation is provided in a refuge. There are 7 flats within the refuge each providing individual living, cooking and sleeping accommodation. These provide a combination of one, two and three bedroom accommodation. One of the flats is adapted to ensured accessibility for disabled people. There is also an office for staff at the refuge and there is a communal living and cooking space. There is also parking for 8 cars and a communal garden. There are pay phones in each close and residents can use the office phone for essential calls relating to benefits etc. There is no provision for telephones in the flats; however there is provision for TVs.
Refuge accommodation is open to women and their children. Admission to the refuge is on a first-come first served basis following a risk assessment / assessment of need. The refuge is usually full. The average stay in the refuge is about six months, however it can vary between a day or two and a year depending on individual needs. Generally women over the age of 16 will be admitted. There is a policy that men are not permitted in the refuge.
On admission to the refuge a support worker will explain to the woman:
- Admission forms
- Occupancy agreement
- Checklist (safety, confidentiality etc)
- Housing benefit
The woman will also be provided with a few days' supply of food, toiletries and cleaning materials. Residents in the refuge are required to attend weekly refuge meetings which deal with communal issues. Residents claim housing benefit and pay rent, they are also required to contribute £3 per week towards the TV licence which covers all of the flats.
After about a week a support worker will create an individual support plan for the woman which covers:
- Making sure the women's needs are met
- What she's looking for e.g. job, education, healthy lifestyle etc
- Health needs
- Health and safety and wellbeing
- Support to support / interact with others e.g. family, solicitor etc
Further support is provided to the women, children and young people as appropriate.
The organisation is currently registered with the Care Commission as a provider of housing support services, however is not yet registered with the SSSC but is required to do this by November 2010. The person, who is registered with the Care Commission as the manager of this service, is also registered with the SSSC.
The refuge is leased from Forth Housing Association and is paid for through the rents of residents.
"I arrived at the women's aid refuge in Stirling not knowing what to expect and it was a scary feeling. Having said that, my fear was soon put to rest when I saw the flat which was like a real home. The self-contained flats within the building are furnished to a high standard and furnished with everything you require, very comfortable and relaxing. Being able to close your own front door for privacy and space in my opinion is a vital part of the process you go through and I can safely say if I didn't have that I would not still be here."
Quote from woman using refuge