Hannah and Sally have been even more busy than usual going to lots of events to promote the Feel Good group, which for women with learning disabilities where we get to talk about our bodies and all types of relationships. Sally tells us what they’ve been up to recently.
“We went along the the Being Social event in September organised by Connect in the North. It was great to see so many different organisations there offering loads of different activities for people with learning disabilities. They had to run it over two floors there were so many, and it was heaving with people looking for new things to get involved with! It was such a great atmosphere and everyone we spoke to was really excited about Feel Good.
We then managed to get along to our first Tenfold Pop Up event in October. This was at Technorth, where a lot of staff are based who work in Learning Disabilities support services. Again it was really busy, but this time with workers. We made some really useful contacts and ate some absolutely delicious curry.
We also took part in the Sex and Relationships Event Day hosted by Advonet in November. We delivered a workshop on the importance of privacy and what privacy means to different people (it can be a complex issue for people who need personal care support). It sparked a lot of really interesting discussions and a fair amount of giggling – we do like to have a giggle!
We’ve had some interesting sessions with staff from other organisations coming to speak to women in the Feel Good group about different topics. Our good friend Sarah Wheatley from Connect in the North delivered a really interesting session on sexting and
Wendy Ponton from Luv2MeetU, an introductions agency for people with learning disabilities, also came along to the group to share some tips on meeting new people and keeping safe. We even looked at different ways we flirt with people we fancy.
We’re so glad to be a part of this thriving network of support services in Leeds for people with learning disabilities!”
The fabulous news that Rosebuds was being refunded for another year by Leeds Community Foundation was met with a huge cheer from the women in the group when we updated them! They quickly moved on to what they would like to see from the group in the new year, now that we have another year ahead of us. Rosebuds is a weekly group for women whose children are being looked after by someone else such as in foster care, living with family via a kinship order, or have been adopted.
“It’s been 14 years, and I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about this, I haven’t had any support”
For many of the women this is the only time they get out of the house and most certainly the only time they get to talk about their children with other mums who understand. The understanding and support in the room from all of the women is amazing to see. Thank you so much for the team at Leeds Fund for allowing us to carry on offering this support to the women who come to the group, who have created their own supportive family. The smiles stayed on their faces as they left the room chatting and laughing, feeling a lot better than they did before they came!
“We are stronger together, we are like a big family”
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!
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 would like 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!