The Snowdrop Project: Fighting for a Future Free From Trafficking
As featured in issue 42 (2016)
‘In 2016 we were only operational within Sheffield. Sincethen we have expanded our support to cover Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster,’ says Katie. ‘We have increased our training delivery across the UK and are currently working with the South Yorkshire Modern Slavery Partnership to develop a “Special Point of Contact” model within local authorities, NHS and additional services who would be able to coordinate the response of their department in a knowledgeable way,’ she continues. ‘In the last year, after 10 years of advocacy, the government have agreed to provide a level of “long-term” support. This is not as comprehensive as we would like but we have taken this part of the government’s delivery within South Yorkshire.’
In the last six years, the landscape of issues facing victims of trafficking in Yorkshire has changed significantly, presenting new challenges for The Snowdrop Project to try help resolve. These challenges range from an increase in safeguarding and mental health issues, to the number of men being identified as victims of trafficking increasing, the demand for suitable housing, and a rising number of dependents to support. The Snowdrop Project are rising to meet these new demands.
‘We have grown from five staff members to 23, and now provide some of the government long-term support; specialist long-term support casework; a variety of trauma specialist therapy services; we’ve grown the house renovation project; increased our community activities to include English as a foreign language classes, dance, sewing, a drop-in service, wellbeing group, and a mum and toddlers group,’ Katie continues.
‘In total, over the last 10 years, we have supported over 400 beneficiaries and have grown our annual income from £50,000 to £897,000. We’ve also co-authored the Human Trafficking Survivor Care Standards and the UK Training Standards,’ Katie reflects. ‘We are also incredibly proud to have been awarded the National Centre for Social Justice Award in 2021 in recognition of our work supporting survivors of trafficking and the impact we have had relative to the size of the charity.’
Intrinsic to the issue of human trafficking is instability, and to continue to instil confidence in victims to rebuild their lives, The Snowdrop Project took the plunge and purchased their forever home in 2021 – acting as a hub for their life-saving work.
‘We came to realise that The Snowdrop Project needed a permanent home,’ says Katie. ‘Many of the people we support have had no control about where they live, work or spend time, and 100 percent of our referrals experience mental health difficulties. One woman was forced to move over 70 times which has had a huge impact on her life. A stable, therapeutic and permanent base was needed to create the most conducive environment for recovery for people such as her,’ she explains.
‘It has since become a place of security and sanctuary for the survivors we support, as well as home to six other charities who we rent rooms to. We love that this has become a hub in the centre of Sheffield that people know they can rely on.’