Street Talk was founded in 2005 by an NHS therapist who had become troubled by the inequalities within the provision of mental health care. It seemed that most of the patients referred for NHS psychotherapy were those who could have afforded to pay for it themselves, their referral frequently a result of their own highly developed advocacy skills. The most vulnerable patients, with more complex needs, few of whom were in a position to pay for therapy, seemed for the most part, to be excluded.
Women in street based prostitution find themselves excluded from care; they are not necessarily registered with a GP, the portal to most health services. Women are refused access to A&E on occasions, even when they are injured or critically ill, let alone accessing specialist services such as psychotherapy. Street Talk was founded in a spirit of experimentation, setting out to discover whether it were possible to engage extremely vulnerable women in therapy. It started humbly, at a drop-in centre, the Maze Marigold, in Hackney where we began to learn from the women how they wanted to use therapy.
Street Talk is supported by:
- The Aurum Charitable Trust
- Cripplegate Foundation
- Ealing Society of Friends
- Hampstead Society of Friends
- London Community Foundation
- London Quaker Service Trust
- Madhav Mughal Foundation UK
- Margaret Hayman Charitable Trust
- Our Lady Immaculate and St Anthony Catholic Church
- Segelman Trust
- Sewell Trust
- Simon and Lynn Dodds Fund
- Spiral Fund
- St David’s Society of Friends
- Tracey Emin and Deutsche Bank Centenary Fund
- Tudor Trust
- William Bancroft Charitable Trust
Working with women who have such acute needs would be impossible to do in isolation. A significant aspect of Street Talk’s work is to encourage women to engage with other services and any success can never be attributed to Street Talk or any sole organisation; it always comes from working together. Street Talk is a small cog in a big wheel.