For the past 20 years we have been supporting young men and women aged 16-24 through our Youth education and employment programmes. And since 2015 we have also been supporting women aged 18+ across East London through our dedicated Women’s programme at our site in Stepney, supporting them to learn English, gain independence, grow in confidence, access employment and develop skills in a supportive community environment.

During this time, we have seen women from 18 to 81 years of age flourish and thrive. We have also offered support to their families, equipping them with the parenting skills and confidence they need to give their children a bright future. We are hugely proud of the support we have been able to give to women and families from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds.

It is therefore with a heavy heart that we have to announce that we are going to have to close the Women’s and Family Support programmes. This is not a decision we have come to lightly and have explored all possible avenues to avoid this but we are left with no viable alternative. There are three main factors that have led to this decision;

  • We have had a lease for the past 6 years within the building that houses the Women’s and Family Support Programmes at the Stepney Life Centre which is extremely complex.
  • The lease has ended and there is no legal route for us to extend the current lease. It looks highly unlikely that there can be any negotiation and it is also highly unlikely, because of the complexities, that we can take on any new lease.
  • The programme itself lost its major income stream of AEB Government funding two years ago (July 2019). We have made concerted efforts to replace lost funding and shore up the finances. However, despite generous funding support from partners, we have been unable to find alternative sources of funding to replace this lost income stream.

This does mean that we have sadly had to make some roles at the Women’s and Family Support programmes redundant.

We would like to stress that there are no risks to any other jobs within the organisation, and we continue to support those most impacted by economic inequality in the local community through our Youth programme, which we continue to grow and strengthen as we recruit and progress ever more young men and women aged 16-24 through our traineeship course.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff, volunteers and partners who have worked with us on the Women’s and Family Support Programmes over the years. Each and every one of them have helped change women’s and families lives, and the legacy of their hard work will live on in the women and families who are now more confident, more skilled and more independent as a result of their influence.

For any questions relating to this announcement please contact diane.betts@citygateway.org.uk

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