Local organisation WEB Merseyside has made it into the final three for the National Crimebeat Awards. Lauren Leman, Deputy Centre Manager, discusses what this means for WEB and the services they offer below.
My name is Lauren Leman I am deputy Centre manager at the organisation WEB Merseyside that is based in the north end of Birkenhead on the Wirral, but WEB serves adults and children from across the whole of Wirral.
We are so happy to be shortlisted into the final 3 for the national Crimebeat awards in the adult let category for our young women’s and boys group projects we provided over lockdown. We have had a couple of our young women’s group members involved in creating a short video presentation to tell you a bit more about us and the project our young people have been involved in. We hope you enjoy it.
We are so proud that out of 54 counties involved in this process, we were shortlisted and will find out on the 16th march whether we placed 1st second or 3rd so this feels like a huge honour to us.
Our small charity is known locally as WEB Merseyside; our legal charitable name is Women’s Enterprising Breakthrough; as historically we only worked with women and girls, but since 2010 we have worked with men and boys and we realised that our historical name wouldn’t suit all.
Hence we are now known as WEB Merseyside. WEB is based in north Birkenhead, we’ve been delivering services for 28 years now. The 22nd March is our 26th anniversary as a registered charity. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to celebrate our 25th anniversary last year due to COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions.
WEB is a small user led service; originally set up by local women who would meet in each other’s houses supporting one another with various local issues, 5 years later we were asked by local women to set up our young women’s group project; working with young girls aged 9-16 who had been impacted by a paedophile ring they requested our support to help keep their children safe, and to help them recover and heal and 21 years later our YWG is still here, with the addition of our boys group in 2012.
WEB receives referrals from 104 referring agencies and we also receive a lot of self-referrals and word of mouth recommendations. Often the referrals that we receive are for issues such as: Self-harm, Social isolation, Bullying, Domestic abuse, Behavioural issues, Rape, Child sexual abuse, Incest, Family breakdown, Childhood ACE’s, PTSD, and a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, OCD, suicide ideation; and self-harming behaviours.
WEB’s mission is to provide a safe, supportive and empowering space in Wirral for women, men, and children to raise their hopes and aspirations, build their resilience and coping techniques, improve their personal and professional relationships and increase their self-esteem and confidence. We do this through a range of 1:1 and therapeutic group support and a wide variety of confidence building, anger management and therapeutic training; to support them to create the future they want.
WEB works with young people who are vulnerable and at risk of being sexually groomed; and/or groomed into county line gangs. WEB works with several looked after children; and many of our young people have additional and/or complex needs and so are socially isolated; and/or bullied; or do not fit into other social groups for one reason or another. WEB has stringent ground rules in place that support equality, safeguarding, and respect for each other; as we are a ‘user led service’ the members of the group, take ownership and pride in policing the group ground rules that they have created.
With the restrictions of COVID during the 1st national lockdown; our weekly young women’s group and boys’ group project had to be stopped for a couple of weeks; before our amazing Team at WEB put their heads together … virtually! And proposed to recommence the groups meeting up virtually on Zoom. The young people were supported to design what activities they wanted to take place each week and took turns designing their own quizzes and leading and being host on these quizzes. This was so good for them mentally, emotionally and physically to be able to make these connections; albeit virtually.
However, since the end of June 2020 all of adult and young peoples groups have returned and WEB is and has been delivering ‘face to face services’ throughout the whole of the 2nd lockdown; WEB was allowed to stay open as we have been classed as an essential mental/emotional health support.
This project has made an immense impact on the young people and families that we work with. We found that families were just so grateful that the support did not stop when so many other services were closed and that they were not alone or abandoned. I am really proud of our team for pulling together and reacting so quickly and effectively in what has been a very difficult, everchanging and confusing time for a lot of people.
I also wanted to add that we have been lucky enough this year to be supported by the PCC (Police & Crime Commissioner’s office) in receiving 3 grants to a total of £50, 000 from the domestic abuse and sexual violence fund to work with victims and survivors. So we would like to say a great big thank you for this, as it has helped us to reach so many vulnerable adults and children in our community during lockdown, providing them with a place of safety and support.
WEB are really appreciative that we have been shortlisted down to the final 3 out of 54 counties for this amazing and prestigious award. Thank you for the recognition of all the work that we as a team do in our community.
WEB staff and volunteers are very proud and very passionate about making a difference in our communities, and we thank you for your support in helping us to make this happen. Thank You.