Hidden Voices Somerset

Please see below a message from David Maggs, Team Leader for Mission/Diocese of Bath and Wells:

“Would you be interested in volunteering for a new local project supporting victims of Modern Slavery and exploitation?

We are looking for a range of volunteers to help victims of modern slavery and exploitation in Somerset. Initially the main work will be supporting people in the first 7 days after referral, but we will also work longer term with many of the victims.

Hidden Voices Somerset (HVS) is a local response to Modern Slavery and all forms of exploitation.  Our primary focus is building asset-based community resilience through grassroots local groups – already established in Sedgemoor, Minehead and Chard, who themselves  are training new church and community groups, businesses and schools using clear and consistent Apps, tools and resources provided by The Clewer Initiative, to identify and report modern slavery and exploitation.

Official figures show 62 victims across Somerset applied for statutory support through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in the year to March 2020. Analysis of National figures indicate that 90-95% of victims do not wish to enter the NRM when offered the opportunity to do so, indicating a potential existence of 900 current victims across Somerset.

HVS has developed relationships with voluntary and statutory organisations, and after cross-agency consultation are running a six month pilot (1st October 2020 – 31st March 2021) Victim Support project for victims and those at risk. The project will be carried out in partnership with The Clewer Initiative (the national Church of England’s anti-slavery programme) and the National Victim Support Helpline.

The project has two key elements:

Provision of Victim Support and building of an effective, self-sustaining Anti-Slavery Network across Somerset.

Volunteers are needed to enable provision of Victim Support

The process

Referrals can be made 24/7 by anyone to the National Victim Support Helpline – initial contact point, and onward referral mechanism will be the HVS Project Co-ordinator.

A team of two core volunteers will be assigned to each referred victim, and will initiate the services required. Where appropriate they will contact specialist local organisations for support e.g. addiction issues, and will have access to a range of national specialists via Clewer networks.

The aim is for each individual to be given an initial supported space following their referral. The longer term engagement with them will depend on their legal status. Where possible, we hope they will become integrated within, and supported by, the local community to enable a consistent and secure recovery with a safety net, with the ambition of eventually being able to determine their own future, securing safe employment and housing.

We are looking for volunteers to support the following aspects of the project:

  • General support from the two core volunteers will provide the victim with in-depth support and allow the core team to get to know them. Together with 2- 4 further “support volunteers” they will create a circle of support delivering everyday tasks like driving to accommodation, support at appointments and low level befriending,  so that where the victim is planning to stay local they will have built up community ties to act as a preventative measure against further exploitation.
  • Employment readiness and skills development: A different group of volunteers will be recruited to mentor and support victims with the right to work to obtain work with the “Bright Futures” programme, a national job placement programme for victims of slavery to which The Clewer Initiative belongs.
  • Within the pilot we will also be looking at the possibility of volunteers willing to host victims

All work will be done to comply with a COVID Safe Environment.

If you are interested in volunteering we would like to invite you to join one of our Zoom volunteer information sessions on 25th August, 26th August and 3rd September. Registration essential.

When: Aug 25, 2020 07:00 PM


When: Aug 26, 2020 07:00 PM


When: Sep 3, 2020 07:00 PM


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you are interested in these roles or other work by HVS but are unable to make any of the above dates please contact: allie.white@bathwells.anglican.org Tel: 01749 670777

Please Note: The initial training will be on 10th September and 24th September 7pm, via Zoom and on Saturday 3rd October as a socially distance training in Bridgwater (venue to be confirmed). Safe recruitment procedures will be followed and attending the training does not guarantee that a volunteer placement will be offered.”

Hidden Voices Somerset is facilitated by the Diocese of Bath and Wells in partnership with The Clewer Initiative.

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