The origin of Savana can be found in a local pilot project set up to raise the aspirations of women in Chell Heath. The emphasis was to be on encouraging them back into education and employment.
However, the workers quickly found themselves overwhelmed listening to women's stories of sexual abuse and violence. The need was recognised and a Rape Crisis service was set up.
Over the last 30 years the organisation now known as Savana has been on a roller-coaster journey, expanding and contracting as funding streams have changed. Since 1986 the demand for our services has increased from 363 counselling sessions to over 2000.
In our 30th year we celebrate the successes of the past, recognise the progress that we have made, and focus on providing a strong, sustainable service into the future.
The North Staffs Rape Crisis Service was set up by NACRO with premises in Stoke-on-Trent.
The service became an independent, autonomous organisation and a registered charity employing one full time manager and with one volunteer.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council provided a premises in Hanley for a peppercorn rent with an office and one counselling room.
Name changed to Rape Crisis (North Staffs and South Cheshire) to more accurately reflect the area served by the organisation and a new constitution was adopted.
National Lottery Charities Board funding to develop the service – Deputy Manager appointed. 15 – 20 volunteers.
Training course validated by CENTRA – Rape Crisis Counselling for volunteer counsellors.
Name change following consultation with our membership, clients and other agencies. The new name, Women’s Rape and Sexual Violence Service (WR & SVS) more fully reflects the work we cover.
Achieved the standard for Investors in People (IIP) (November)
Extended premises to include counselling suite and training/meeting room.
Began Partnership Training with Staffordshire Police IDLDP.
Employed our first Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) under a Home Office initiative.
Attained British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) service accreditation.
Name change to Savana.
Funding Crisis prompted restructure of the service and a reduction in staff.
Received funding to duplicate the service to accommodate men and boys.
Trained 18 Crisis Workers for Client advocacy and support in partnership with Brighter Futures for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust/Police Authority/Local Councils Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based in Cobridge.
Became a Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status.
Awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Services - an organisational MBE.
Gained The Survivors Trust Standards.
Gained Rape Crisis England and Wales Standards.
Employed a third ISVA.
Were successful with the tender to continue to provide the Out of Hours Crisis Worker service to Grange Park, Staffordshire’s SARC.
Moved to our new larger premises at Wood House to accommodate further service growth.
We opened our first charity shop – Turnaround @ Savana on Weston Road in Meir.
Moved to our new larger premises at Metro Business Park to accommodate further service growth.
Introduced a new role of Sexual Violence Youth Support Worker to better support children and young people.