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On September 20th we held our Annual General Meeting. Mayor Olive Puncheon and Mayoress Mary French formally opened the event. Tom Hall director of Public health South Tyneside presented and Dame Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, although sadly unable to attend, sent a video recording in her absence. The staff team presented reports on the achievements or the Volunteering, Counselling and Employment services and explained what the Police Crime Commissioning fund had enabled WHiST to provide to women accessing the service, free of charge. One of our volunteers spoke about her achievements and qualifications gained as a result of attending one of the courses at WHiST and the warmth and support she got from the other learners. And finally a Management Committee was appointed for the coming year.

We would like to thank everyone who attended, the speakers and all the volunteers and WHiST members.

“As Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, I am responsible for providing key emotional and practical support services for victims of crime in our local communities. Last year, I awarded money to WHiST through my Supporting Victims Fund – a fund, which aims to improve and widen the services available to our most vulnerable and priority victims. Recognising that WHiST provides a vital service to vulnerable women in South Tyneside – I wanted to ensure this was built upon. WHiST offers a unique women only environment accessed by those most in need of support and advice and the funding I awarded helps provide counselling to women who have experienced violence and abuse. Women accessing this counselling are able to safely explore their feelings and identify ways of becoming more confident in order to make positive changes in their lives. I am thankful to WHiST for offering this valuable service and wish all those supported through this counselling all the best for the future.”

Dame Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner