Reflections on the Encompass Fund so far
When Covid 19 was declared a pandemic and Scotland went into lockdown in early 2019, CLiCK reacted very quickly to make sure that any woman in Scotland who needed our support was still able to access it in a meaningful way: resource lists were created and regularly updated, our online chat hours were extended, and we created a freephone helpline to ensure that women who might be digitally excluded were also able to receive support.
However, what we were hearing from women was that although emotional support and advocacy was beneficial, it was not enough to cover their other needs-primarily financial support to cover for essentials such as food, bills and children’s items. We were therefore delighted when the Scottish Government allocated funding to the Encompass Network to be directly allocated to women in Scotland’s sex industry. Although Women’s Workers for CLiCK throughout the country were working really hard to make sure that women were able to receive support and to have their voices heard during this very difficult time, the Encompass Fund gave us the opportunity to offer something to the women that would be of immediate benefit to alleviate some of the stress and worry around their immediate needs.
The Encompass Fund was initially intended to run until the end of September 2020. However, CLiCK had a very high number of referrals, meaning that we were able to extend funding allocation until 31 December 2021. This was extremely helpful for women both practically and psychologically. The fund went towards supporting their practical needs to cover essentials for themselves and their families, while a number of women also benefited from short-term counselling that we were able to provide through this fund. Together with the Encompass Fund, CLiCK was also able to support women to access the Victim Fund through Victim Support Scotland. This was particularly beneficial as the Victim Fund was able to provide women with larger payments that could go towards covering their longer term needs such as rent arrears, essential furniture and council tax costs.
Below is a breakdown of the Encompass Fund spend to 31 December 2020: