‘Hold Tight’ a poem about moving on from domestic abuse.

One of the women from our Leeds Domestic Violence Service groups recently wrote a poem for others going through similar experiences.  She read the poem at our Centenary Celebration in November and we really wanted to share it with you.

 

Hold Tight

What I want for you my dearest is that it stops here.

That your bruised, exploited mind and body

begins its healing here.

That you find within yourself the truth of who you are –

a unique, and solitary entity who stands alone,

who has her own song to sing,

her own story to write,

her own life to live –

free from the abusive, corrosive elements that wish you harm.

Hold tight my dearest,

hold tight to self belief as small as it may be –

just a spark perhaps –

yet as it breathes and lives your truth

it will set you free.

 

2018

A big celebration of our work and 100 year of suffrage.

2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of women of Great Britain starting to win the right to vote. We hosted a celebration for women we support, staff, Trustees and external guests.   A huge thanks to the Women’s Lives Leeds Centenary Celebration Community Outreach programme and White Rose for contributing to the funding of this event.                           

We were delighted to welcome Kim Leadbeater (MP Jo Cox’s sister) and Councillor Alison Lowe as our guest speakers. They spoke brilliantly, engaging the audience and sharing their passion for the work they are involved in and the importance of women using their voice and voting in local and national elections.

                                    

Women from our Rainbow Hearts group sang beautifully, their voices lifting hearts and spirits high! Many women we support shared a little of their story and their work with WHM. This is always a moving reminder of the value of what we do, the strength of the women and girls we support and how wonderfully they support each other.

                                

Women prepared display boards about their work with WHM and the themes of voting, change and rights. Many women also contributed to our ‘on the day vote’…..sharing their thoughts with us on…..”if I could vote for anything it would be……….”

                                   

Prior to the event in the morning, the women and girls we work with had joined staff and trustees for our AGM and used their voice to vote on matters relating to the governance of WHM.  As always, it was such an inspirational event and thanks to all of the wonderful women for being part of it with us.

             

This year’s Baby Week Leeds was a huge success!

Lucy Potter, our Maternity Voices Partnership Chair, is also the founder of Baby Week Leeds.  She took a bit of time out of the fantastically busy BW schedule to update us on the launch.

Baby Week “Better Conversations” Launch Day One

The third annual Baby Week Launch got off to a great start on Monday 12th November 2018 at Civic Hall.

Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Councils’ Executive Member for Children and Families opened the event with the ‘Better Conversations’ theme and promote the ’50 Things to do before 5′ app including the wonderful program of family events going on during the week.

Val Watson spoke on behalf of the Haamla midwife team who work with asylum seekers, refugees and homeless women in the city at St James’s Hospital.  Val and colleague Vicky Cranston helped introduce the Baby Boxes to Leeds last year at the launch of Baby Week 2017.  Val reported that they had managed to reach out to 50% of the women in the city – that’s 1283 baby boxes delivered by the great work that followed last years event including partnerships between Midwives, Doctors, Health Visitors and Children’s Centres!  Debra Gedge, Children Centre Manager, has helped the Baby Boxes to reach further by handing them out through Children’s Centres.

Helping continue the great collaborations was Professor Mark Mon-Williams, University of Leeds & Executive Member of the Born in Bradford Project.  He spoke about the new 50 Things to do before 5 App (which our YUMs group were particularly excited about!). Already connected with Leeds Local Authority,  we are starting to show potential in sharing the same vision with Baby Week Bradford to help make this a regional success.  He was excited about the app describing why evidenced based work helps target social and emotional well-being giving educational benefits of the app could save billions to the health service and even save lives!  Some of us who could downloaded the app right then and there!  We just dipped our toe into the wonderful low cost or free activities that you can share with your baby and celebrate all milestones of developmental journey of a baby’slife.

The week continued with various activities delivered through children’s centres and libraries go the www.babyweek.co.uk to read the blog and breakdown of the week.

Spotlight on our team – Hannah and Naffie

This ‘Spotlight On’ we hear from Hannah W and Naffie, our newest Trustee.

 

Hannah – Wellbeing Case Worker for Rainbow Hearts

What does your role involve?

I work alongside the Rainbow Hearts group providing 1-1 support to asylum seeking women. I support women with their mental health and reducing loneliness and isolation.

What’s your favourite thing about WHM?

The people – everyone is friendly and supportive. I am enjoying being part of WHM, I have been welcomed into the team and feel like I have been here ages now! It is inspiring to be around so many passionate, committed women.

What are 3 things you enjoy doing?

Running, camping and Lego

If you had a magic wand, what would you do with it?

I would magic away all weapons, ammunition, bombs and bullets and make people talk out their problems rather than fighting. I would also magic myself a beautiful campsite on a beach in Scotland and I would spend my days baking cakes and running up and down hills surrounded by cats.

 

 

Naffie –

Why did you become a Trustee for Womens Health Matters?

A work colleague who is also a Trustee at Womens Health Matters approached me. My colleague stated that they needed a Treasurer on the board. At that point I had never heard of Womens Health Matters.  I then read about the organisation and the positive difference it makes to the lives of women.  This sparked my interest and made me want to be part of the charity.

What is your favourite thing about Womens Health Matters?

My favourite thing about WHM is how the WHM annual event gives women we support an opportunity and courage to voice out their experiences and how the organisation has positively impacted their lives to enable them to realise that they are not alone and they have more control over their lives and health.

What do you do outside of Womens Health Matters?

I work for Leeds City council Childrens and Families. My role entails working closely with the Commissioning Team and Local elected members for Children and Young people.

I have a BSc degree in International Accounting, certified in SAP financials, at the Professional Level of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) certification and also completed more than eight years of public and private accounting experience where attention to detail is essential when managing client flies and proof reading financial statements. I am able to contribute these skills to WHM as a Treasurer.

Outside of all of the above and WHM, I enjoy going to the gym and Arabic classes.

If you had a magic wand what would you do with it?

I will make sure that every woman has justice, respect, care and compassion.