National Volunteers Week Part 3 – Our MVP Deputy Chair

This is the third post of our National Volunteers Week volunteer ‘thank yous’!

As part of our work at Women’s Health Matters, we Chair the Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP), find out more about that here.  This week we are celebrating ‘National Volunteers Week’ at MVP by thanking all of our amazing volunteers, but with this post particularly shining a spotlight on our wonderful volunteer and Deputy Chair, Claire Licence.  As a practising doula Claire’s passion and experience of her subject flows into her voluntary role at the MVP.  Her open heartedness and commitment in raising the importance of women and families maternity experience has helped build an honest approach for giving feedback to midwives and staff at the hospital.

Claire joined the MVP in 2017 and has been instrumental in the transition from the Maternity Service Liaison Committee (MSLC) to launching the MVP in March 2018.  She supports the team here at Women’s Health Matters as we deliver the project through the Clinical Commissioning Group.  Claire and has been an integral part of establishing the monthly ‘Walking the Patch’ on the maternity wards.  For over a year now she has helped support new volunteers with approaching women and their families on the wards to give a ‘snap shot feedback’ to report back to the team leader meeting.

Claire has been invited on many occasions to represent service users by taking part in interview panels for helping to choose new staff for the trust including; Community Team Leader, Infant Feeding Coordinator and Community Matron at both St James’s and LGI sites.  To help illustrate this work Claire was invited to take part in a short film for the board of trustees to explain the positive working partnership she has helped form between the MVP and the maternity services over the last year.

Thank you Claire for all the time, energy and skills you have offered. The MVP could not have progressed this far without you!

For more information on the Maternity Voices Partnership and how you can get involved, click here.

Next up this National Volunteers Week – our fantastic Trustees!

This is the week to say a special thanks to our wonderful volunteer Trustees.  Charity Trustees are the people who share ultimate responsibility for governing a charity and directing how it is managed and run.  At WHM we are lucky to have seven Trustees who are passionate about and committed to the work that we do.  They meet regularly throughout the year as a full Board and in sub committees and review the current status of our services, keep abreast of our finances, governance and safeguarding issues and work with the staff to plan for the future development of WHM.
Our Trustees bring together a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience from their working and personal lives and this produces great discussions at Board meetings, led by our Chair Alison Cater, to resolve challenging issues and when necessary vote to implement important decisions.  You can see who they are here.
Did you catch our blogs on our Trustees where we learnt a little bit more about them, how they arrived at our door and crucially if they had a magic wand what would they do with it?!?  If you missed the blogs……don’t worry…….click the links below to meet our Trustees during this special week to celebrate the wonderful volunteers we have at WHM and across the charity sector.

Meet Alison, Amie and Emma.

Meet Hannah and Tracey.

Meet Naffie.

Meet Kate.

We will be recruiting soon for more Trustees…..keep an eye on our website and social media if interested.


National Volunteers Week – a huge ‘thank you’ to our volunteers!

As it’s National Volunteers Week, we thought we’d take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our fabulous volunteers and tell everyone about the fantastic work they do.

First up, we hear about those who support our market stall.

We have an outreach stall in Leeds Kirkgate market each Friday, where we offer information and signposting to women around a wide range of health related issues, as well as offering free condoms.  The stall is popular and many women visit us on a regular basis.  We couldn’t do this work without the support of our amazing volunteers, Kylie and Ghazal, who give their time and skills to the project and help us make a real impact for women in Leeds.  They give women the space they need to talk about their concerns, discuss any issues with them and direct them to the most appropriate information or service.

Kylie is a long standing volunteer whose commitment is fantastic, despite being a busy Mum with loads of other calls on her time.

Ghazal joined us more recently, from our Rainbow Hearts group (for women seeking asylum) and is a brilliant addition to our team.  Both are great ambassadors for our organisation and we are hugely grateful for their dedication to our work.

Exciting collaboration with The Tetley!

The Tetley and Women’s Health Matters are delivering a new project for young mums and their children, funded by the Building Connections Youth strand (Government and Co-op Foundation). The Tetley believes that everyone should have access to life changing experiences, make new friends with shared interests and take part in activities designed to raise aspirations. Their building however was an underused community resource and space for young mums and their children living in South Leeds.

“The activities we did I really really loved, my daughter got so much from it and it even made me look into Tiny Tetleys and the workshop she does at Leeds market”

The Tetley has regular free and accessible family friendly activity, but needed the funding to help to pilot breaking through the barriers to access and bring young mums together.  Young mums are often isolated in the community and The Tetley wanted to combat loneliness and offer a fun space for them and their children.




“Honestly we had the best time, the way Jenny Anne just fit right in with us, coped with our mood swings and really welcomes us was amazing!”

They approached Womens Health Matters to partner with then as we have a rich history of engaging with women and girls, 13 plus, working with them to shape and develop new services.   We co-worked to bring together a group of young mums to engage in informal messy play workshops for mums and under 5’s, initially community based, and then to attend The Tetley’s popular Tiny Tetley sessions at their fantastic South Leeds building.

“It’s been fantastic and having extra YUMs has really helped a lot of us to socialise a bit more and we are arranging to go in the school holidays on Thursday at the market (another of Jenny Anne’s sessions)”

As you can see the women have had a fab time getting creative with Jenny Anne, having a go at activities like messy time t-shirt making for children, creative clay and den making. The creativity was both therapeutic and fun and it gave the mums a chance to be hands on with the children giving them ideas for their own activities at home.

The mums have negotiated with the Tetley to go back, and run self directed sessions, using the room and resources kindly provided by the Tetley.  We wanted families who haven’t previously accessed The Tetley before to join in with their amazing family days, so to hear that the women are planning on going together again is great. We are looking forward to further developing our relationship with The Tetley… this space!