Abianda

Working with young women and girls affected by gangs and county lines

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Abianda is a social enterprise that works with young women affected by gangs and county lines and provides training for the professionals who work with them.

 

We provide frontline services for young women aged up to 25 and training for professionals who work with them. We set up Abianda to address the gap in services for gang-affected young women and to change the way services are delivered to them, so we can more effectively respond to their needs. We do this through our unique model of practice – we address the barriers that stop young women from seeking help & work alongside them to design & deliver our services.

Our Guiding Principles

​We believe that:

  • Young women are experts on their own lives.

  • Young women have innate resources, competence and resilience.

  • People affected by a problem are best placed to find the solutions.

  • We must shift traditional power hierarchies in service delivery in order to enable young women's participation in solution building.

  • We must support young women to have their voices heard in order that they can influence the design and delivery of services.

 

Organisation Background

Abi Billinghurst founded Abianda in 2014. Her vision was to create an organisation that would bring about social impact through frontline services and training for professionals.

 

These services and training would, in turn, bring about a culture shift in provision for gang-affected young women who traditionally neither felt safe accessing, nor trusted, statutory services. These young women would therefore deal with adversity, risk and harm within their peer group, rather than reaching out for professional support. As this service provision was not working for gang-affected young women, Abi wanted to create something that did.

 

Keen to embed participation at the heart of the organisation, she therefore founded Abianda so that it would:

  1. Stand shoulder to shoulder with young women

    • No one knows a young woman’s life like the young woman herself, so it is right and logical that they are embedded within the organisation so that we can understand the realities of their lives.

    • We work in a collegial and collaborative way so that these young women influence the design and delivery of our services.

  2. Have a model of growth which supported social impact

    • Young women are embedded into the infrastructure of the organisation, so as Abianda grows, we have the opportunity to support young women to develop new skills and to learn new organisational functions themselves. All our training is informed by young women who have used our services and are paid for their work.

    • We therefore can deliver social impact through the services we deliver, as well as through our infrastructure as we grow, thus staying loyal to the principles of participation at the heart of the organisation.

  3. Work as a not-for-profit business, and not a charity

    • We are self-sufficient and innovative in our income generation, working to be sustainable and commercially viable, with the freedom to pursue social impact defined by young women.

 

"I feel like I am living now, I can breathe."

- Young woman's feedback
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