Abianda is a social enterprise that works with gang-affected young women and the professionals that support them. Gang-affected young women are a hidden group in our communities, experience sexual violence and exploitation and can’t always access services for help. We aim to bring about a culture change in the way services are delivered to gang affected young women in order that:
- They are no longer a hidden group in our communities;
- Services can respond in partnership to their complex needs;
- Young women and their children can be safe, and;
- They can make the changes they want in their lives and contribute positively to their communities.
We work to the assumption that GAYW are the experts on their lives and that those people affected by a problem are best placed to find solutions to it.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Abianda-1.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated March 2019
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
Our mission is to bring about a culture shift in the way services are delivered to young women affected by gangs and county lines, so that:
- they feel safe to access help
- they are no longer a hidden group in our communities
- they are free from harm and abuse
We aim to ensure that young women are better connected to system wide services, and that nationally there is an increased awareness of how young women and girls are affected by gangs, and improved service response to them.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
- One-to-one services for young women and girls affected by gangs and county line activity across London
- Preventative group work as commissioned by boroughs
- Train-the-Trainer, equipping young women who have used our services with the skills to co-facilitate our training for professionals, and to act as peer mentors to other young women
- Young Women’s Business Advisory Group – a second Board for Abianda, giving young women the opportunity to advise on strategy and grow their business understanding
- Training for professionals so that they re more confident in their ability to work with young women affected by gangs and county lines and more aware of the indicators that a young woman is affected by gangs and county lines - they are better equipped with the tools to respond effectively to young women affected by these issues.
We also take part in various public engagement events including regional and national conferences (Westminster Insight, NHS Commissioning Boards, Public Health England etc.). Our Founder and CEO Abi Billinghurst has also acted as peer reviewer for a briefing on safeguarding and exploitation for the prestigious Research in Practice Strategic Briefing series in 2018.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
Abianda supports young women affected by gangs and county line activity to develop their knowledge, critical thinking and resilience, and to move towards their best hopes. For all our services we expect to see – and have a strong track record in securing – the following outcomes:
- young women progressing towards their Best Hopes
- young women demonstrating increased knowledge of sexual violence, exploitation and domestic violence in the context of gangs
- young women demonstrating increased knowledge of the risk of violence and exploitation in groups, gangs and county line activity
- young women demonstrating increased knowledge of healthy and unhealthy relationships
- young women demonstrating increased skills to identify and negotiate risk and keep safe
- young women with indicators of increased resilience and self-efficacy
- young women reporting being better connected to services
Through our training, we equip professionals with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to gang-affected young women. By growing their understanding of the issue, knowledge of services like Abianda, and our unique model of practice, we will enable professionals to work effectively with gang-affected young women and thereby bring about the culture shift in services we want to see.
For our training outcomes, we expect all attendees to have:
- increased awareness of how young women are affected by gangs and county lines
- increased confidence to respond effectively to young women and girls affected by gangs and county lines
- increased skills to respond effectively to young women and girls affected by gangs and county lines
Train the Trainer
All our training is co-facilitated by our Young Trainers, who have used our services and been training to deliver training and act as peer mentors to other young women. As a direct result of our training delivery, we therefore also expect to see that young women have:
- increased opportunities to do professional and paid work
- increased ability to grow professionals’ understanding of gang-affected young women
- increased ability to change the way professionals work with gang-affected young women
- increased skills and knowledge to work as a professional trainer
- increased ability to influence decisions that affect me
- increased resilience
- increased sense of having a supportive group of peers and professionals
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
For the high-risk, high vulnerability cohort we work with, we are really pleased with our levels of engagement. We have a 73% engagement rate beyond the first two sessions across all referrals, exceptional in the field.
In our services, we work to shift power to the young women. Rather than us setting an action plan, we ask young women what their Best Hopes from our work together are. Young women’s Best Hopes have included:
- “Having freedom and safety”
- “Being a good mother and keeping my child safe”
We ask young women to self-report at each session on a scale of 0–10, where ‘0’ is the worst things have ever been and ‘10’ is when she has got her best hopes. All service users start at 5 or below, and end at 6 or above, with 40% of participants reporting 10. The average increase was 5 points up the scale. The largest increase was 7, for 40% of young women. When looking at women part way through their work with Abianda, all are at 6 or above.
Practitioners explore topics such as sexual violence, healthy/unhealthy relationships, risks for young women affected by gangs. By tallying the answers given to questions, we can evidence significant increases in young women’s knowledge and understanding.
At the start of the programme, on average young women can articulate just 4 examples of sexual violence – by the end of the programme on average they can articulate 8 examples. One young woman could articulate 6 additional examples of sexual violence after exploring this topic with her Abianda practitioner.
On average young women can identify 5 risks for gang-affected young women at the start of the programme, and by the end 10. In terms of what young women affected by gangs can do to keep safe, again we evidence a doubling of average number of answers from 3 to 7.
In terms of indicators of healthy and unhealthy relationships, young women on average at the start of the programme can list 8 indicators, and at the end of the programme 14 indicators. The greatest growth by one young woman was 9 additional indicators of a healthy or unhealthy relationship.
We also use an Outcomes Star to assess young women’s resilience and sense of control over their own lives. At the start, middle and end of the programme we ask young women to respond on a scale of 0-10 to statements including “When difficult things happen I find it easy to stay positive”, and “I am able to influence decisions that affect me”. We see significant increases across the board, particularly evidencing young women’s engagement with services.
We are pleased to see that young women feel more able to influence decisions that affect their lives, as this is central to Abianda’s model of practice. In response to the statement “When difficult things happen I find it easy to get back up and keep going”, one young woman reported 1.5 at the start of her work with Abianda, and 9 at the end. In response to the statement “I am able to influence decisions that affect me”, one young woman reported 0 at the start, and 9 at the end.
We share young women’s work with them, so that they have a portfolio to reflect on at the end of The Star Project, or at the end of Train the Trainer. After working with Abianda, one young woman said: “I feel like I am living now…I can breathe.”
99.5% of training attendees would recommend our training to a colleague. 60% of attendees said they would make changes to their practice after attending Abianda training. An extract of sample feedback from our one-day training is given below.
Participants were asked to rate their knowledge and understanding out of 5 at the start and end of the training (figures available but were inserted as a table, which cannot be included in these statements).
We share training feedback with commissioners after each event.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How many people have benefitted from your actions?
Over 2018 we intensively supported 50 young women affected by gangs and county line activity across London. We also trained 4 more young women to work with us as Young Trainers.
Over 2018 we reached over 450 professionals through our training and professional development courses, as well as public engagement events.
We have grown from working in one London borough to all 32 London boroughs. We have seen financial growth of 400% this financial year. The full-time team has also quadrupled in size.
6) What additional social benefits have you been able to deliver within your core services that distinguish you from other “for shareholder profit” providers?
Abianda provides ad-hoc consultation with external organisations on topics including: working with gang-affected young women; growing a participatory business; recruiting professionals to grow diverse income streams for not-for-profits; speaking with other organisations that want to adopt a similar model of practice, including training young women up to take on professional roles within an organisation.
Abianda also delivers regularly at conferences, with experts by experience sharing best practice for professionals working with young women affected by the issues.
Our integrity, and loyalty to our model of practice and values, differentiate us from “for shareholder profit” providers, and we are committed to relinquishing power to those people e support in order that they can influence the growth and trajectory of our organisation.
7) What social and environmental benefits have you created from internal operational policies and actions?
One of our founding principles is to have a growth model that delivers social impact.
For example as our core functions within the infrastructure of the organisation grow (finance, HR, commercial), this is an opportunity to move young women from service user into a shadowing role where they develop business and professional skills alongside adult professional experts.
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