Community project that went digital in lockdown praised by Commissioner

ACAYA is a female support service, available for women living in Preston and surrounding areas. They help women who may otherwise feel alone, end up isolated or vulnerable.

During the pandemic, ACAYA has still managed to provide vital services, utilising zoom calls, focusing on one to one support such as socially distanced walks, and continued to provide skills training such as online cooking and budgeting classes.

Talking to volunteers who are delivering this support, the Commissioner was told about the positive impact that this support has been having with support from his Community Action Fund.

The Commissioner also talked to someone who had used the service provided by ACAYA, who talked about how its allowed her to gain confidence and start to move forward in her life after some extremely challenging times.

The Commissioner said:

“It is inspiring to see important work like this continue through the pandemic by changing how support is delivered, and really does highlight the commitment of people and volunteers across Lancashire to supporting vulnerable people.

“Utilising Proceeds of Crime in this way and investing back into the community can only be a good thing and helps me deliver on my Police and Crime Plan priorities to support vulnerable people and victims.

“It is the personal stories, where someone has been able to access support and move forward, that really bring home how through relatively small investments, we can make a big difference.

Lisa Walton from ACAYA said “During the past 12 months providing support to women in need became increasingly difficult due to lockdown restrictions preventing us from meeting up with our clients individually and in group settings. However, ACAYA needed to continue to provide the level of support we were previously able to offer women despite these extremely difficult circumstances.

“The support we received from the CAF was essential in enabling us to adapt and continue our work. We were able to purchase equipment which allows us to reach our clients remotely and provide the support that has been so desperately needed throughout the pandemic.

“The CAF also gave us the means to provide essential items for clients in need, and run classes to improve emotional wellbeing. Without the support of the CAF this would not have been possible and would have resulted in many of our clients feeling forgotten and becoming further isolated from society and the support they desperately need.”

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