Our Story

Read our history from founding to present day.

Our history

  • 2004

    A group of 3 friends were researching the issue of women and homelessness and found that the most vulnerable group of people were women involved in street based prostitution.

    They successfully secured seed funding from Leeds Christian Community Trust and started going into Holbeck where the women were working, in their little car, offering hot drinks, homemade cakes, sandwiches, love and friendship. Soon, other like-minded people joined in and in 2004 Joanna was officially born under the LCCT umbrella.

    Evening Outreach, where it all started, remains the backbone of what we do and most of the women we work with we first met on the streets.

  • 2009

    The need for workers to offer more intense support during the day quickly became apparent. By the end of 2009 there were two part-time daytime workers with more to follow.

  • 2010

    Joanna Project became an independent charity in 2010 (Charity Number 1138640).

  • 2014

    As we grew in our understanding of the fragility of the women’s lives and the complexity and depth of their needs we identified that we wanted somewhere that women could find us.

    We wanted a place where practical and emotional needs could be met. We wanted somewhere women could experience friendship and community in a comfortable, nurturing space.

  • 2015

    We opened Joanna House as a Daytime Sanctuary, a safe and beautiful place that women could access simply by ringing the doorbell.

  • 2021

    Started our first ever addiction recovery groups.


Today Joanna House provides sanctuary and support to around 100 individuals annually, and our Evening Outreach teams regularly reach out to many more.

Our staff are supported by a volunteer team who give a total of over 175 hours of their time each month.

We remain an independent charity yet work in close partnership with multiple organisations across Leeds.

The Garden at Joanna House

Our Sanctuary Garden at Joanna House

Can you support us?

Our work depends on volunteers, donations and fundraising