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.

             

Talking consent & World Mental Health Day 2017

 

Some of the members of the team from The Key were invited to attend events at two colleges last week. Sarah and Aneira went along to Leeds City College as part of their event focussing on consent. We like to have activities on our stall, so we asked young women (and lots of staff who wanted to play!) to identify what words/ sounds/ signs may means someone is consenting, not consenting or unsure. Lots of giggles were had but everyone was great at it and we had some really useful chats.

The following day we attended Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College’s event as part of World Mental Health Day 2017. Lots of other great organisations were there too including Forward Leeds, Carers Leeds and our lovely friends at Women’s Lives Leeds.

We talked to so many young women and staff about the work we do and about healthy relationships.  Our activity for that event was asking people to think about how unhealthy or healthy relationships can impact our mood and mental health.

We had so many responses!

People had lots of suggestions about how an unhealthy relationship might impact your mental health…..

Make you stressed and not allow you to concentrate on important things, make you insecure, depression, sad, upset, angry, lower self-esteem and confidence, make you self-conscious, anxious, feel unloved, make you feel small & not good about yourself, may cause ill-health as it can make you depressed and stressed out, feeling worn out, make you feel trapped, lonely & guilty like it’s your fault, makes my mood anti-social and lonely, if in education, then it’ll negatively affect performance, lose hope, negative vibes are soaked up into us & we may convey them onto others accidentally. May lead to domestic violence.

 

When it came to how healthy relationships affect our mood and mental wellbeing, they also had loads of ideas including…..

Make you more happy and positive, it will make you feel more loved and valued in life. Boost your confidence, make you satisfied and happy, make me care about others around me, confident in the fact you have someone you can trust & speak to, being in a healthy relationship is good for the mind, you will feel happy and healthy. It can turn mood into a positive, happy state in which boosts & creates healthy living. Secure, excited about life, makes you confident, feeling joy, increased confidence in life & self-confidence, you know that someone cares about you, good vibes make us flowery & positive!

 

We had a great time at both events and, as always, it was fab to talk to so many switched-on young women!! See you next time. =)

MSLC at Leeds Baby Week

This month’s Maternity Services Liaison Committee meeting took place within the second annual Baby Week Leeds at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last month. The morning meeting included professionals from Leeds University, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Clinical Commissioning Group, Head of Midwifery and a service user. The MSLC meets every two months and as a topic of discussion we invite a representative from other services around the city working families and children. In particular Karen and Ann from Family Support & Parenting Practitioners helped give an overview of the their courses available to families as this was a conversation at the previous meeting on where parents can get support following the birth of their babies. Interesting discussions followed along with updates regarding the changing of the maternity involvement structure becoming more regional – more information on this in the near future!

 

Continuing the theme of maternity services the event following the MSLC meeting in the main foyer saw ‘Maternity Strategy Conversations’ which welcomed the public to bring their baby to speak to professionals regarding different experiences of maternity care in Leeds, including; breastfeeding, discussing birth plans and supporting preparation for parenthood, young parents and the Haamla Service!

 
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn spoke a few words about the importance of engaging the families and saw the day as being the last event of another successful Baby Week in Leeds.

As well as the parliamentary presence and just as important was Johnathan Freeman Clinical Director of Women’s clinical Service Unit, speaking to service user and networking with fellow professionals.

Lucy Potter who chairs the MSLC is also the founder of Baby Week which is an adaptation of the Brazilian Semana do Bebe (2000) (UNICEF 2010). This is an early years initiative aimed to join multi professionals and cross sector services within family, children and maternity services across Leeds. The idea is to help improve communities engagement in services available to them and promote new policies including The Best Start plan.


The opening ceremony (Monday 11 September 2017) was at the Crowne Plaza and helped launch the first ever Baby Box scheme in Yorkshire. This helped attract families to obtain a Baby Box which helps to promote safer sleeping. The scheme includes a syllabus which parents are required to undertake in order to fully understand the learning benefits of the critical growth developments of their baby. This service is universal and information on where to get the Baby Boxes can be obtained from the Haamla service and children’s centres across the city.

Our lovely Elaine and Leeanne were also there supporting an MSLC volunteer and representing the rest of Womens Health Matters.

For more information on the MSLC please click here.