Project: SURT

Stopping Unsafe Relationships Together in South Tyneside

SURT’s social purpose is to prevent and stop children and young people from experiencing relationship abuse. In order to meet increased demand and to build on its current service offer, SURT will pilot and implement a Volunteer Framework, providing inclusive volunteering opportunities for community members.

SURT offers a specialist relationship abuse service for children and young people living in South Tyneside who are aged 11-24 and at risk of or affected by relationship abuse. Its service offer includes prevention and awareness raising activity for vulnerable children and young people in the form of group work. SURT’s targeted 1-1 education, support and advocacy is for children and young people who are identified as medium and high risk of relationship abuse. These individuals mostly self-refer, or are referred by parents, carers and services such as social care, police, housing support services, and health provision.

SURT’s specialist programmes have been developed to account for local needs, learning styles and regional risks. During 2022-23, the team delivered 186 specialist relationship abuse education sessions and also supported 26 children and young people to engage with criminal justice processes.

My daughter was diagnosed aged 9 with ASD, one of the biggest issues she faces is relationships, this had been an ongoing problem for years and she had seen service after service, nothing helped, nothing changed! Until SURT. The impact Claire had was amazing, the difference I believe is the “person centered approach”…The words from my daughter’s mouth 'I’ve been in therapy since I was 9 and not one of the therapists have been able to help me, until I met Claire.'

Relationship abuse is a complex issue; therefore the team also work systemically with families, professionals and communities to prevent and stop harm. For example, SURT delivers the PAM (Parenting and More) Project. The 8-session programme aims to educate parents and carers so that they recognise relationship abuse, as well as helping them understand their child’s lived experiences and to confidently work as part of a support system to effectively safeguard their child.

With support from the Foundation, SURT will develop, pilot and implement a Volunteer Framework in order to increase service capacity to be able to respond to growing local need, whilst providing inclusive volunteering opportunities for community members (having already received a number of requests for this offer). Over a 2-year pilot, the team aim to recruit 20 volunteers, who will be trained and supported to take on a number of activities: from administration and fundraising, through to wider community engagement.

SURT seeks to attract those who have some lived experience of relationship abuse, particularly those whose experiences have impacted upon their self-confidence. The support provided aims to create personal and social development opportunities to help raise their self-confidence, belief, hopes and aspirations. Based on the success of the pilot, SURT aims to expand this offer into an ongoing programme of support.