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Transitional accommodation

About Stramullion

Named after the Scots word for ‘strong woman’, Rowan Alba’s Stramullion service was opened in 2003 with the aim of supporting up to 10 homeless women and their children emotionally and practically to learn life skills, be independent, gain confidence, meet new people and eventually obtain tenancies. Stramullion is a transitional housing service where women live in independent flats but also enjoy inclusive, communal areas.

A safe space to rebuild

The staff team at Stramullion provide each woman with a dedicated keyworker who in partnership with them agrees a personal support plan based on their personal needs and interests. Through this relationship a shared understanding develops allowing staff and client to go on a journey towards independence and better emotional stability and wellbeing.

The residents of Stramullion are often socially isolated due to their addictions, difficult family or friend situations and mental health issues. To make it possible to form new connections Stramullion creates safe spaces where the women can connect with each other during group activities. By also interacting with local community groups, the women can build new friendships outside of Stramullion, gain the confidence to live within vibrant communities and prosper.

Wendy’s experience of Stramullion

Creativity and connections

Creative workshops are one of the most highly requested activities by residents at Stramullion. Sewing, cooking, music, pottery, art and languages sessions are facilitated by partnerships which bring in artists and volunteers. As well as helping the women to connect with others and themselves, these skills open doors to new pathways including Further Education and employment opportunities. Stramullion residents have recently moved on to study Social Sciences, Bakery and full-time study in Early Child Development through the Open University.

Routes to refferal

All of the women who are referred to Stramullion come from temporary accommodation supplied through Edinburgh City Council. Due to the majority of the women being socially isolated and unsupported they are assessed as being in need of greater support and skills in order to live independently. Stramullion welcomes residents through this route and is proud to be able to offer them a pathway towards a better and more sustainable way of life.

A better service through psychology

In 2024 Stramullion will embed a resident Psychologist within the service. The mental health of the tenants can be very challenging due to early-life trauma, including violence & agression and other damaging experiences. The project will work for up to 3 years and aims to fill a gap that currently exists in the provision of psychological care to people who have experienced trauma and homelessness in Edinburgh, prevent repeat homelessness, and reduce demands on other services such as health or housing. The insights gathered from this project will enable to the staff at Stramullion to gain a better understanding of their residents and improve their professional practice and service delivery.

Stramullion case study

Sarah was 23 years old when she found herself facing homelessness, after a relationship breakdown with her partner, which resulted in her being asked to leave the flat. Sarah was left with no other option but to seek help from the emergency housing services at the Council.

She had arrived in Edinburgh only a few months previously from the West Coast and had no friends, job or anyone she knew that could help me. She was placed in a B&B as this was the only emergency accommodation available for her- she was frightened and unsure of her future from one day to the next.

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She was then offered a space at Stramullion. She was apprehensive as she made her way to the project- as she had never been in this situation before. However, as soon as she stepped through the doors she felt welcomed. Sarah said the staff were warm and friendly- she felt at ease and homelier than her B&B. The staff talked her through the entire process and by the end of the first day She felt so much better than she ever could have imagined.

She stayed at Stramullion for just over a year and in that time, she made friends, found a job within childcare services and Sarah’s self-confidence increased massively. She enjoyed the weekly key work sessions with staff and she would regularly join in with the activities organised communally.

Sarah stated she really felt at home in the project, but she knew that this was only a stepping stone. When Sarah was offered her own tenancy, she was happy, but felt sad to be leaving the place that she called home.

“These women (staff) who had supported me and helped me so much at a time when I really needed it. The staff supported me through the whole process of leaving, helping me get things I needed, and I even have follow on support in my new home. I am so grateful to all the staff and for the time I spent at Stramullion it has helped me become the strong and independent woman I am today”