A PROJECT that supports vulnerable Swindon sex workers escape a life on the streets has been honoured by national charity the Howard League for Penal Reform.

The Nelson Trust, whose sex worker outreach project is based at the charity’s Victoria Road offices, was commended in the Howard League’s Community Awards. The scheme recognises some of the country’s most successful community projects aimed at stopping people from committing crimes.

Katie Lewis of the Nelson Trust said “The sex worker outreach project team continues to successfully support our most hard to reach and vulnerable women, which enables them to access specialist support to address their needs, and reduce the risk posed to them. We work effectively alongside partner agencies to achieve this."

Operating in Swindon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, the sex worker outreach project sees support workers go out onto the streets of Swindon to offer advice and practical support to sex working women. They are given warm clothes, food and sexual health checks.

The Nelson Trust works closely with Wiltshire Police and coordinator Katie says the number of reports to national monitoring scheme Ugly Mugs made by the women against violent clients has increased since the project began.

The Community Awards winners were recognised at a London policing conference this week.

Catryn Yousefi, programmes manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Our Community Awards celebrate successful projects and pioneers who guide people away from crime and make us all safer.

“Only the very best schemes in the UK are honoured each year and, once again, we were delighted to receive so many high-quality nominations.”