Last week we said goodbye to our wonderful Elaine. Over the years she has supported many of our projects, most recently working on Feel Good, the Maternity Voices Partnership and Rainbow Hearts. You can see her here at the recent Rainbow Hearts picnic (Elaine is the one with sunglasses and blue skirt).
Elaine was also our administrator, keeping all of us and the office running smoothly. For a long time she also supported our volunteers on the information stall in Leeds Market, speaking to women from across the city about their health and support available for them. She’s going to be so missed by all of us here at WHM, but we wish her a very happy retirement and she has some really exciting plans.
We asked Elaine if she’d like to say a goodbye, here’s what she had to say –
After many years at Women’s Health Matters I am moving on to new adventures. How to say goodbye to such a wonderful organisation full of fantastic women…..? I know I will miss the place, the people and the work so much and not least the absolutely amazing women we work with, it has been a privilege to be alongside you. I don’t think there is another organisation quite like this, always putting women first and at the heart of everything, which is exactly where they should be!
To borrow some words from my favourite bear…..
Karen, one of our Project Workers, recently received some fantastic feedback from a woman who had just finished attending one of our LDVS domestic violence support groups –
“I must admit on my first time at the group meeting I had no idea what to expect and didn’t really want to talk to anyone. I had no confidence and felt that no one could have been through what I had been through so how could they understand or answer any of the questions that I had failed to find the answers to myself.
I was welcomed and given a coffee and almost immediately felt at ease. I soon began to realise that the meetings were about me and the future rather than trying to understand what had happened in the past.
Over the next few weeks it become clear that the questions I thought I needed to be answered had become insignificant and the future was mine to grasp. I found comfort in listening to the others in the group and realised I was not alone with my thoughts anymore as other members of the group were in my position. Some had started to find ways to move on and some were struggling but we were all in it together.
On the weeks where we analysed what we had been through it made you realise why we felt the way we did but we always looked at things from two opposing viewpoints and discussed how we could turn the negatives into positives. It was amazing to see some people arrive in the depth of despair lacking in hope and then see them blossom and grow in confidence and self worth.
I saw and felt this week by week in myself. Karen would encourage us and made us believe that we could get through this. That there was light at the end of the tunnel. That we could get our lives back on track and they would be so much better, even if it meant doing it alone. She made us believe that we were what she said we were ‘strong, independent women’!
I recently left the group knowing I am back in charge of my life and my future. It has not been easy but the support Karen, Andrea and other members of the group gave me has been invaluable. I will never forget the support in emotional and practical terms which I received. I have found the confidence now to do a voluntary job as a receptionist and I love it.
I can live a life with my head held high. I have so much admiration for the way Karen has directed us and encouraged us to be the best we can be and will always be glad that I join the group.”
We are delighted to have joined with lead partner Touchstone and Holbeck Elderly Aid to deliver a fabulous new service – Your Space.
The service will deliver and promote a range of activities, awareness campaigns and signposting for people who live in LS8, LS9, LS10 and LS11. We will work with individuals and communities to develop and identify the tools, skills and know-how to live happy, healthy lives, and to maintain their wellbeing. Leeds City Council funds the service and Leeds Beckett University, Centre for Health Promotion Research are our evaluation partners.
We launched in April and are working hard to get lots of activities and publicity reaching into the communities. The team have already attended community events, festivals and galas, group work sessions, employee wellbeing sessions and other activities in the local areas with lots of positive conversations going on. The Your Space curry and chat evening was recently hosted in Holbeck – yum! Lots more to come as the sun starts to shine….and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @YourSpaceLeeds