The New Futures Project

The National Lottery and its years of invaluable support for New Futures

New Futures relies on the support of a number of donors – some large, some small.

The National Lottery Community Fund has been a vital and consistent source of funds for the project for almost 20 years.

In fact, since 2005, it has invested approximately £1.2 million into New Futures to help it sustain and expand its work with some of the most vulnerable and abused women and young people in the city and the wider county.

The charity – originally called Women’s Health In Prostitution – was set up in 1995 to support women involved in prostitution. 

However, it has evolved into a broader welfare and counselling service for women and young people dealing with the greatest traumas life can throw at them – such as sexual abuse or exploitation, domestic violence, trafficking, poverty and debt, substance use or mental ill-health.

In the earlier stages of its relationship with the group, the grants focussed on the charity’s founding purpose of supporting women involved in prostitution. 

This breakdown illustrates the scale of National Lottery Community Fund investment in its work since 2005.

· The Transitions and Recovery Project (August 2021 to September 2024) – £358,549

This ongoing National Lottery-funded programme is working on two fronts. It provides ‘a practical emotionally supportive and trauma-informed recovery programme’ for women in prostitution.

However, the grant also enables the project to continue its work with vulnerable young women, aged 18 to 25, who are or who are thought to be at risk of sexual exploitation.

Through therapeutic work, this programme also addresses historic abuse and exploitation participants might have experienced.

· COVID-19 Counselling & Emotional Support (May to November 2020) – £68,559

This award enabled New Futures to cope with a rise in demand for its services during the global health crisis.

Consequently, it was able to increase its capacity to provide support in complex cases which required ‘intensive work from qualified counsellors’ who had experience of working with young people with a history of sexual exploitation and abuse.

· Daytime outreach, (October 2019) – £9,999

This award enabled the team to support women during the day, offering food, drink and general safety advice. 

This helped the project form bonds with the women and invite them to engage further by coming along to the drop-in.

In the course of carrying out this work, the team encountered a number of vulnerable men, chiefly rough-sleepers, whom it  was able to sign-post to relevant support agencies.


    • New Futures Prison Outreach (October 2019) – £9,860

Some years ago, the project decided it was essential it remained in touch with women who had ended up in prison.

This National Lottery funding helped New Futures provide therapeutic sessions to help those women address the ‘underlying issues’ which had brought them into the criminal justice system.

It also helped it meet the immediate needs for those who had no support waiting for them on the outside, easing their transition back into society.

· New Futures Young People’s Counselling service (September 2017) – £9,985

On this occasion, The National Lottery Community Fund provided a grant which enabled the project to focus on counselling services for young people who were thought to be at risk of child sexual exploitation.

· New Futures For Sex Workers (May 2016 to May 2021) – £489,756

This significant five-year programme was possible thanks to the largest award The National Lottery Community Fund has, so far at least, made to the project.

Announced in April 2016, the money helped New Futures support women along the difficult path of exiting prostitution.

As a result, a number of women went on to ‘live healthier lives, reduce their exposure to physical and emotional risk and increase their stability and well-being’.

· WGI stage 2 – Project (May 2016 to May 2021) £208,590

New Futures used this award to focus on women and girls who had been subject to child sexual exploitation and were thought to be at risk of moving into street prostitution.

The women were offered an intensive programme of support for at least one year including education, support with their mental and physical health, including drug and alcohol use, to help them and make ‘positive changes’ in their lives.

· The New Futures Exiting Project (July 2015 to July 2016) – £9,990

A number of women benefited from this National Lottery-funded programme of life-skills training which set out to improve participants’ self-esteem and confidence as well as boosting their future employment prospects by teaching them maths, literacy and ICT skills.

· Empowering Young Women Who Are Being Exploited/Abused Through Prostitution (January 2005) £61,550

New Futures had been in existence for a few years already when it first turned to The National Lottery Community Fund for assistance.

The organisation needed help to further its work with women who were or were believed to be at risk of being drawn into prostitution and this grant of more than £60,000 helped it do that.

The money helped it provide training for statutory agencies and community groups and to continue its work with women working on the street, in private flats and in saunas.

This project was able to provide a drop-in centre – a service it still operates today at its base in London Road, near Leicester city centre – to give the women a refuge from the pressures of their lives.

It gave the women a chance to enjoy some basic comforts – whether that be a shower and a chance to grab some sleep or simply to pick up some food and clean clothes.

Crucially however, it also gave the project’s staff and volunteers time and space to get closer to the women and begin the process of gaining their trust and, ultimately, helping them rebuild their lives.

New Futures director Della Cavner said of The National Lottery Community Fund’s continuing support for the project’s work: “All of us at the project have been very grateful  for their generosity in awarding grants for our work, but equally importantly for recognising the value in the outcomes we are trying to achieve for our client group and their insight and advice into how this can best be achieved.

“Thank you for the support and guidance. It is much appreciated.”

New Futures was set up more than 20 years ago to support women involved in sex work.

However, we have evolved into a welfare and counselling service for women and young people dealing with sexual abuse or exploitation – frequently involving domestic violence, trafficking, poverty and debt, substance use or mental ill-health.

Call us on 0116 251 0803 or send us a message at:

You can find us at 71 London Road, Leicester, LE2 0PE.

Add Your Heading Text Here

Skip to content