Awards time for The Key in London!

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll have seen us mention (just a couple of times!) that our girls & young women’s project The Key was recently shortlisted for some awards.  Children and Young People Now is a magazine and news website for professionals working with children and young people. Each year they hold an awards ceremony celebrating some of the best work happening with young people up and down the country.

They describe them as-

“The Children & Young People Now Awards have become the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families.
Now in their fourteenth year, these awards provide a great source of pride and recognition for all those who strive day in, day out, to improve the lives of others.

The Awards are a tremendous showcase of learning and best practice from across the country that can be an inspiration to all. They recognise teams and individuals from the public, private and voluntary sector that work with children and young people from birth to adolescence as well as their families.”

Although there were over 600 entries, The Key was shortlisted in three categories – the Safeguarding Award, Early Intervention Award and PSHE Education Award (see more of the shortlist here). This meant that we were headed to London!

Aneira and Sarah from The Key had a fantastic time at the awards – not least because Alan, the voice from Strictly and The Lotto was announcing it! It was amazing to be around so many professionals doing such great work for children and young people. We want to say a huge thanks to Children & Young People Now and also to our funders, the National Lottery Community Fund, for supporting us to go.  We couldn’t be prouder of The Key and it was an honour to be there, especially as we are in our final year of funding for the project. We’re so pleased the work was recognised in this way!

 

 

Exciting new video project with Breathing Space

Some of the women from our Breathing Space project are working with Tee Hogan of Teevision to create a film around their experiences.  We have two aims for this piece of work, firstly that other women going through domestic abuse will hopefully feel like they are not alone and are encouraged not only to get help and support, but are also able to work out what support is right for them.

The film will also be a training tool for professionals. The women were reflecting on what it feels like to be properly heard, or not, and what it’s like to have been through trauma and then have to work with someone you don’t know, such as a new Social Worker.

Some of their messages to professionals were;

  • Remember that we feel isolated and anxious
  • Please pay full attention to the person you’re trying to help
  • Professionals should work together when needed
  • Women want full feedback from MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences), they felt they were being spoken about, but don’t know what is being said.

Group members also said that they felt professionals didn’t always understand how complicated being in an abusive relationship is, that saying ‘just leave’ or ‘just call the police’ isn’t always helpful.

One woman said –

“I couldn’t call the police to my house if he was violent because I knew people who would make you disappear.”

They also talked about the fact that in multi-agency meetings, women and men were often held to different standards. So, if the child’s dad attended one meeting, they felt he was really praised, but if mum attended all of hers, but then missed one, she was judged much more harshly.

“He’s treated like a prince in meetings.”

The film is still in its early stages, but we’ll keep you posted and are looking forward to showing it to the public!

Maternity Voices Partnership update.

The Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) bring together parents with experience of maternity services with staff representatives at the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust.  We regularly give feedback to help shape and co-design the maternity services offered to families in Leeds.

The MVP were part of Baby Week (2-9th November 2019). Over the past few months and within Baby Week our volunteers have been going into the maternity wards and talking to families to get feedback on their experiences of maternity services. Below is a picture of us with the Team Leader midwives after reporting back from a morning on the Antenatal ward at LGI. The response has been positive and a more thorough evaluation has been carried out following feedback from our maternity survey which can be found on our website; http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/OKBAV/ .

 

 

Through this we created a ‘you said we did’ breakdown of different areas you thought needed improvement. For instance ‘you said’ you felt your partner/father needed to be included more in the pregnancy – we can report that all birth partners are now allowed to stay over in the antenatal ward. ‘You said’ you wanted information to be easier to understand – we can report that the Trust now have a nominated member of staff with ‘I’m here to listen’ as a point of reference for women and families to go for any issues or concerns in each area.

The formal MVP has provided space for professionals and service users to meet and discuss important engagement in how to support fathers and birth partners in their role for breastfeeding support. The Trust has employed two Infant Feeding Coordinators who provide support covering both sites to help support women with breastfeeding.

The MVP took part in the ALWAYS event run by the Trust and the Patient Experience Team and through an engagement exercise they provided two vision statements:

  • I always expect to be offered the opportunity to have skin to skin contact with my baby for as long as I want
  • I always expect to receive consistent information about skin to skin contact with my baby

If you would like to know more about what the MVP does, visit our website or contact info@womenshealthmatters.org.uk if you would like to join and become a parent representative.

Wellbeing Wednesdays have begun.

We’re so pleased to be able to say that our new wellbeing group has started!  It’s a monthly group for asylum seeking women, funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation.  The group brings women together to make friendships and reduce loneliness.  Each month we’ll share food, have a go at crafts, mindfulness activities and much needed relaxation.  It’s a fab way to come together and share our stories and coping techniques, have people to talk to and obviously, have fun!

In our first session we looked at what things we would like to do in the group, women suggested great ideas like going for walks, visiting local museums and trying new arts and crafts activities.  In our December session, one of the members is going to teach us how to knit while we come up with a name for our group.  It can be such a difficult, stressful and lonely time of year, so it’s lovely that we can all be there for each other while learning new skills.  We’ll keep you posted on the kinds of things we get up to!