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Guiding Light project

The Guiding Light project supports a small group of women who are affected by violence and multiple disadvantage. The definition of multiple disadvantage used by the 'Making Every Adult Matter' (MEAM) approach includes needs around housing, substance misuse, mental health, and involvement in the criminal justice system. You can find out more about the MEAM approach further down the page.

Who we work with

The project works with women who:

  • live in Middlesbrough
  • are 18 and over
  • feel excluded from support services
  • are affected by:
    • domestic abuse and / or sexual violence
    • sexual exploitation and / or sex working
    • housing issues and / or homelessness
    • substance use
    • mental health needs

The Guiding Light project works alongside existing support and professionals, and involves working directly with women to understand the challenges they're facing and what they would like to achieve.

What is MEAM?

The Guiding Light project is a local service using the MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) approach.

The MEAM approach helps local areas design and deliver better coordinated services for people experiencing multiple disadvantage. It has seven core principles:

  1. Partnership co-production and vision - the right people at the table, a culture of co-production, a shared understanding of the problem and a vision for change
  2. Consistency in selecting a caseload - agreeing a clear referral and selection process
  3. Coordination for clients and services - the practical resource to link individuals to existing services and to get engagement from local agencies
  4. Flexible responses from services - ensuring flexible responses from all statutory and voluntary agencies
  5. Service improvement and workforce development - seeking continuous improvement in local services
  6. Measurement of success - a commitment to measuring social and economic outcomes
  7. Sustainability and systems change - making sure that the results of interventions are sustainable, through changes to systems

The exact way in which the principles are applied will depend on needs in that area.


To be eligible for referral to the Guiding Light project, clients must:

  • be female, aged 18 or over, and live in Middlesbrough
  • have been working with professionals or services for 3 months or more
  • be experiencing barriers to change, and have difficulty engaging with services and / or systems which do not work for them
  • be affected by multiple disadvantage, in 3 or more of the following areas:
    • domestic abuse and / or sexual violence
    • sexual exploitation and / or sex working
    • housing issues and / or homelessness
    • substance use
    • mental health needs

For a copy of the referral form, call 01642 354124 or email

Once the lead worker has made a referral, a meeting will be arranged to discuss what the client is having difficulty with, what they want to happen next, and how to move forward.

How we can help

The Guiding Light project offers:

  • direct support, like home visits alongside the client's social worker / lead worker
  • relationship building to understand the client's needs and wishes
  • support to help the client access services and attend multi-agency meetings

Support can continue until barriers are removed, or the client feels better supported and is engaged with services in a meaningful way.

Find out more

If you want more information about the Guiding Light project, you can call 01642 354124 or email You can also check out the Guiding Light project FAQS.

To find out more about the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) approach, visit the MEAM website.