We are all human with the instinctive need for warmth, food, shelter and kindness. Wherever we come from and wherever we are going to, those basic elements remain. Upon Dial2Donate’s first visit to MASH’s drop-in centre it soon became apparent that these were fundamental values they stood by too.
Who exactly are MASH?
Established in 1991 MASH or, ‘Manchester Action on Street Health’ was set up to help women in prostitution build their self-esteem, become healthier and make long-lasting changes to their circumstances. MASH refer to the women as being ‘involved in sex work’ or as ‘sex workers’.
A fundamental aim at the MASH centre is to empower their service users, enabling them to make the possible life choices. MASH’s drop-in centre provides a warm welcoming sense of community for their regular and new service users. So, in addition to health facilities, hot meals and emergency accommodation, there are always familiar faces and a sense of trust, vital to the work done at MASH’s essential centre. This article aims to explore some of MASH’s wonderful work, if you would like to take a more in-depth look why not visit www.mash.org.uk?
How do MASH make a difference?
With an onsite nurse station, a visiting GP and counselling service, MASH really has everything in place to ensure their women can access critical health facilities. Safer sex protection, clean needles and sexual health screening are just some of the life-saving options available. Of course, MASH also make it a priority to educate women about the potential health implications attached to street work, helping to highlight signs, symptoms and treatments.
A hot meal
Regular hot meals are obviously a necessity and without MASH would also be a rarity for many of the centre’s drop-in users. In addition to nutritional value, the ability to eat a meal, in a warm environment with familiar faces provides a much-needed sense of community too. That is ultimately life-changing for many of the women who regularly meet at the centre.
In addition to medical awareness, MASH play a pivotal role in a nationwide scheme to circulate a database of dangerous characters in and around Manchester’s city centre. This means MASH’s service users have up-to-the-minute details and are equipped with critical knowledge regarding potentially hazardous situations.
Cold, scared, nowhere to go and nobody to turn too – it’s a frightening thought isn’t it? Reassuringly, MASH are there to arrange emergency accommodation when necessary. What’s more, they have systems in place to provide sanitary products for such women in need.
Arts, Crafts & a Holistic Approach
Choice and having the ability to choose is something many of us take for granted, however this is also something which often takes great confidence – an aspect not everyone naturally has.
Channelling emotion through arts, crafts and holistic activities is another of the invaluable ways in which MASH is able to help their women to boost often low self-esteem. These activities may be simply a way to make gifts for loved ones or on a deeper level can be a way in which to explore feelings. Once again, the sense of community and belonging such activities generate are simply amazing.
MASH outreach van – a vital lifeline
The streets of Manchester can be extremely daunting and in certain circumstances dangerous, especially during the twilight hours. That is why the MASH outreach van plays such a pivotal role. Filled with hot drinks, soups and biscuits – the outreach van provides essential sustenance. Vital provisions of condoms and clean needles are also available to MASH’s service users who are out working on Manchester’s streets.
Imagine the disruption there would be of such a vital vehicle was off the road? Sadly the team at MASH recently found themselves in such a predicament. For a temporary period, MASH volunteers were unable to deliver their on-road service. Rest assured, all service users were informed, however it was imperative the outreach van was returned back into action – as quickly as possible.
…and that’s where essential funding came to the fore. It was also a project Dial2Donate was able to assist with.
What is Dial2Donate doing to help MASH’s mission?
When the Dial2Donate team went along to meet MASH’s Fundraising and Marketing Co-ordinator Helen, we were astounded at just how much hard work and dedication went
into running their drop-in centre. After hearing all about MASH’s phenomenal service and seeing for ourselves how life-changing the centre’s facilities are, we had to get involved – in more ways than one.
Dial2Donate stand by a firm ethos of truly understanding charities and where possible really getting involved – helping wherever and whenever possible.
Our first port of call simply had to be providing some of the funds needed to help get the MASH outreach van back into action.
However, there’s always more essential fundraising to be done and so we’re also popping along to assist with MASH’s sponsored bag pack at ASDA Hulme this December and other seasonal events such as their Christmas fair. In fact, we aim to follow shadow the wonderful work at MASH – bringing regular update as we go.
In the meantime, if you would like to start giving towards to MASH please use the donation button, which will connect you to their donation page.
Once again for further information regarding MASH simply click onto mash.org.uk