The Princess Royal’s visit recognises the vital work of our Women’s Centre
On 6th October 2014 Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal attended ISIS Women’s Centre in Gloucester to meet Trustees, staff members and clients of the Nelson Trust, the charity which created and runs ISIS. The event celebrated the contribution made by this unique service to the wellbeing of vulnerable women across the county.
The Princess Royal was formally welcomed by the Deputy Mayor and Sherriff of Gloucester, Lise Noakes, and was presented to Chair of the Nelson Trust Ann Buxton, board members and Chief Executive John Trolan. She then toured the centre with manager Rose Mahon and talked with members of the ISIS staff team and some of the women who have used the centre’s services.
The all-female ISIS team told the Princess Royal about their work with the county’s most vulnerable women, including those coming out of prison or serving community sentences as well as those with complex problems including domestic abuse, homelessness, sex-working and addiction. Rose Mahon explained how ISIS works with great sensitivity to provide dedicated individual support and an educational group programme to help women overcome social and emotional problems, build their self-esteem and achieve lasting change in their lives. “Our aim is to empower women to break the cycle of poverty, addiction, abuse and trauma – problems which frequently stem from their childhoods. Helping women to become safe, to build their confidence and self-worth is just the start – life skills, parenting skills and practical help are all essential parts of the service and we couldn’t succeed without our amazing team who are dedicated and passionate about their work”. Rose also praised the dedication of many local partner agencies including offender managers in the probation service and specialist workers from other voluntary sector agencies who contribute to the work of ISIS in Gloucestershire and their sister-service at ISIS Swindon.
The work of the Nelson Trust at ISIS, which also treats and supports families affected by addiction and abuse, was recognised nationally last year when The Howard League for Penal Reform presented them with the Community Award for Women’s Services.
Chief Executive John Trolan explained how ISIS came into being: “For almost thirty years now we have been providing residential addiction treatment for men and women from all over the UK and beyond. About ten years ago we developed a specialist Women’s Programme which recognised the particularly complex lives of women in addiction: almost invariably they have been deeply impacted by trauma and abuse and have coped with this pain by using alcohol and other drugs. We realised that what we had learned over the years in our residential centre could be translated into a service in the community here. This is a safe place where women can develop trust, open up about their problems and be treated with respect and understanding.”
Ann Buxton, a long-standing trustee of the charity who was appointed Chair this year, expressed pride in her team: “We are honoured to welcome the Princess Royal, and I am particularly glad because the team here undertake very challenging work and achieve inspiring results. So do our service users, who really show determination and courage in facing and overcoming their difficulties. They truly deserve this recognition, and I know that the Princess Royal is someone who really understands the importance of this area of work.”
The Princess Royal expressed her admiration for the charities’ activities during her visit: she commended the Trust’s work in supporting individuals and their needs “Treating individuals as individuals is the key to getting things right”