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19 February 2018

Student Volunteering Week: Why Charities Benefit from Engaging with Students

This week is Student Volunteering Week, a campaign dedicated to celebrating the value of student volunteers for charities and students alike. Here, one-time student volunteer for Changing Lives - and now our Communications Officer - Ellie McLaren, shares her experience of volunteering whilst studying for her degree and why all charities should make the most of their local student community.

I first heard about Changing Lives in my third year of studying for an English Literature degree. I volunteered some time at the charity’s central office during my Easter break, amidst the panic of dissertation deadlines and what life would hold for me after graduation.

Volunteering as a student is…

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25 January 2018

Homeless Sunday: Faith Groups and a Theory of Change

At this time of year – with heavy snow and sub zero temperatures – the issue of homelessness makes headlines. However, helping people who are homeless or vulnerably housed continues all year round.

Homeless Sunday – taking place on 28 January – is a chance for Churches and Christian groups from across the country to join together to pray, reflect and plan practical action on homelessness. In this blog, Changing Lives’ Director of Operations Becky Elton looks at the aid given by faith groups, as well as examining the interconnected issues that can lead to someone becoming homeless, and the three stage theory of change that underpins our work.

Churches have a long tradition of reaching out and helping people who are in need.

Many of the large and small organisations helping people who are homeless today were set up by faith based groups, with some retaining a strong focus on faith.

Indeed, Changing Lives was started in the early…

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10 January 2018

Dry January: A time to reflect on why people drink, when they drink and what it does for them

The phrase 'Dry January' has been all over headlines and social media the past few weeks, but what exactly is the campaign all about? Dry January is the annual movement through which millions of people give up alcohol for the month of January. Taking part can help you take control of your relationship with alcohol: why do we drink it, what does it do, and how can we reduce the harm it can cause?

Here, our Executive Director Ollie Batchelor discusses the importance of the campaign, now entering its sixth year, and how a month of abstinence can be the perfect time to reflect on your personal relationship with alcohol and to make lasting changes.

It’s all too easy to see Dry January as just another campaign that generates media noise and fills some column inches in the post-Christmas period, simultaneously massaging the egos of the PR team involved and meeting the needs of anyone with a penchant for severe and trendy dieting…

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14 December 2017

International Day to End Violence Towards Sex Workers: A Call for Action

Changing Lives is the only national organisation reaching out to women with experience of sex work, survival sex and/or sexual exploitation in the UK. In this blog Laura Seebohm - Operational Director at Changing Lives, leading Women’s Services, Criminal Justice, Health and Employment - looks at our findings over the past decade and reflects on what still needs to be done to safeguard women with experience of sex work.

When Changing Lives set up a service to support women with experience of sex work and sexual exploitation in Newcastle, there was no visible red light district in the city and at this time very little was known about the extent and nature of the selling sex for women.

We…

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1 December 2017

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

From 25th November until the 10th December, people are encouraged to be active and take part in 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in honour of White Ribbon Day. Changing Lives work across the UK to support women and girls suffering the effects of violence and abuse. In this blog Jacki Murphy, Integrated Services Manager of Changing Lives’ domestic abuse service in Halton, explains why we support White Ribbon Day, and why reaching out to men is an essential part of ending violence against women.

The White Ribbon campaign is the largest initiative involving men working to end male violence against women and girls. Domestic violence is not and has never been a ‘women’s issue’, and so the campaign is used to address men directly, to enable them to understand the scale of the…

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