Last Friday 2 December, St Mary’s Southampton hosted a Christmas wreath-making event to fundraise for Amber Chaplains, a Southampton based Christian chaplaincy service for women involved in the sex industry. The church welcomed 65 guests, who enjoyed drinks and cakes on arrival before having the opportunity to make a beautiful wreath to take home. The workshop was facilitated by Charlotte & Colette of The Flower Shop, Bassett, Southampton, and there was raffle with prizes from local businesses and supporters, which helped raise a total of £1600.
Amber is a Southampton based Christian chaplaincy service, run by City Life Church, serving women involved in the sex industry, whether on the street, working in parlours, online, or performing in lap dancing clubs. Volunteer chaplains offer a confidential listening ear to those from any faith or none to support them in their health and wellbeing. They provide emotional support, signposting and prayer through three key services:
- Amber On-Street: two weekly outreach sessions providing a gift bag with condoms, health essentials and refreshments. The team of volunteers, led by a Staff Chaplain, engage with up to a dozen women each evening.
- Amber Venues: monthly visits to 11 massage parlours and weekly visits to 3 lap dancing clubs, where the team engages with up to 75 women over a month.
- Amber Daytime: 1-2-1 support, accompanying women to health appointments, food and clothing banks, emotional support.
Amber Chaplaincy believes that every woman matters and deserves the opportunity to be healthy, safe and free from exploitation. Where some women feel isolated and are stigmatised by society, the team seeks to build relationships to help women integrate and feel included in community. Amber chaplains meet women where they are, showing them love and care.
Women involved in selling sex on the streets are some of the most vulnerable in Southampton. They have huge barriers to overcome, including money, housing, a legacy of childhood abuse, coercion, mental and physical health issues, and problematic substance misuse. Many women have been exploited at an early age and have little or no family support. For those wanting to exit, their criminal record and a lack of qualifications present further obstacles.
Amber works collaboratively with the police, probation, local hostels, sexual health and drug services to provide a multi-agency approach for women, as well as partnering with local churches in Southampton to create a committed volunteer base from a wide range of communities and churches, including those who have themselves experienced abuse.
Want to volunteer?
Amber is looking for volunteer chaplains to join their team. Please contact: email@example.com They would especially like to hear from Christian women fluent in Mandarin to assist with parlour visits.
Amber is currently running a 50Kampaign, with a target of £50,000 in 500 days, with the team completing challenges for every £1,000 raised. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram! To support Amber in their work please visit www.amberchaplains.org.uk/donate