What do you do after you’ve safe-housed and rehabilitated someone whose come directly out of the abysmal trade of human slavery? You attempt to create the first job partnership programme in Britain with one of it’s major retail businesses. You never let go of the vision of each survivor living in a free and sustainable future. This is a letter from the top brass at the Co-op. It says everything about the current direction of City Hearts.
The Co-op has a history stretching back to 1862 of standing in solidarity with those enslaved and with those who provide those enslaved with succour and support. More than that, a co-operative is all about empowering people to take control of their lives and their choices.
In City Hearts, the Co-op have found an organisation to partner with that aligns with our values as a co-operative and our desire to support victims of modern slavery. But more than that, City Hearts have provided the Co-op, its 70,000 colleagues and its 4.4 million members inspiration and belief that together we can see victims of modern slavery not just become survivors but see them thriving in their communities. The team in City Hearts and what they do has left everyone on the Co-op who comes into contact with them – including the thousands who have engaged with our AGM in May 2017 – determined to do more to help City Hearts and those they support.
As a partner, City Hearts have both supported us and challenged the Co-op to be brave. They have been generous with their expertise, with their time and – ahem! – with their patience. They have played the crucial role in developing the most innovative scheme in the victim support debate through their Integrated Support Programme and we are just privileged that the Co-op have been able to play a role in supporting them. It is their vision and innovation that has made ISP – in the Co-op Bright Future – the success it is.
I believe that what City Hearts are doing, supported by the Co-op, is changing the debate in the UK on what victim support should be; their impact individually is huge but across society is even greater and that is built on how they operate and work. Any organisation that works with City Hearts will be a better, more educated and richer organisation than before.
The following are our 2017 projections – to safe house 185 adult survivors and 135 child survivors of human trafficking, to support 725 survivors through our outreach programs and to support 60 children in our Child Support Program, based in Accra, Ghana. Our total projection is to safeguard the future of 1,100 people in 2017, creating a total of 4,500 since the birth of City Hearts.