This year’s Baby Week Leeds was a huge success!

Lucy Potter, our Maternity Voices Partnership Chair, is also the founder of Baby Week Leeds.  She took a bit of time out of the fantastically busy BW schedule to update us on the launch.

Baby Week “Better Conversations” Launch Day One

The third annual Baby Week Launch got off to a great start on Monday 12th November 2018 at Civic Hall.

Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Councils’ Executive Member for Children and Families opened the event with the ‘Better Conversations’ theme and promote the ’50 Things to do before 5′ app including the wonderful program of family events going on during the week.

Val Watson spoke on behalf of the Haamla midwife team who work with asylum seekers, refugees and homeless women in the city at St James’s Hospital.  Val and colleague Vicky Cranston helped introduce the Baby Boxes to Leeds last year at the launch of Baby Week 2017.  Val reported that they had managed to reach out to 50% of the women in the city – that’s 1283 baby boxes delivered by the great work that followed last years event including partnerships between Midwives, Doctors, Health Visitors and Children’s Centres!  Debra Gedge, Children Centre Manager, has helped the Baby Boxes to reach further by handing them out through Children’s Centres.

Helping continue the great collaborations was Professor Mark Mon-Williams, University of Leeds & Executive Member of the Born in Bradford Project.  He spoke about the new 50 Things to do before 5 App (which our YUMs group were particularly excited about!). Already connected with Leeds Local Authority,  we are starting to show potential in sharing the same vision with Baby Week Bradford to help make this a regional success.  He was excited about the app describing why evidenced based work helps target social and emotional well-being giving educational benefits of the app could save billions to the health service and even save lives!  Some of us who could downloaded the app right then and there!  We just dipped our toe into the wonderful low cost or free activities that you can share with your baby and celebrate all milestones of developmental journey of a baby’slife.

The week continued with various activities delivered through children’s centres and libraries go the www.babyweek.co.uk to read the blog and breakdown of the week.

Spotlight on our team – Hannah and Naffie

This ‘Spotlight On’ we hear from Hannah W and Naffie, our newest Trustee.

 

Hannah – Wellbeing Case Worker for Rainbow Hearts

What does your role involve?

I work alongside the Rainbow Hearts group providing 1-1 support to asylum seeking women. I support women with their mental health and reducing loneliness and isolation.

What’s your favourite thing about WHM?

The people – everyone is friendly and supportive. I am enjoying being part of WHM, I have been welcomed into the team and feel like I have been here ages now! It is inspiring to be around so many passionate, committed women.

What are 3 things you enjoy doing?

Running, camping and Lego

If you had a magic wand, what would you do with it?

I would magic away all weapons, ammunition, bombs and bullets and make people talk out their problems rather than fighting. I would also magic myself a beautiful campsite on a beach in Scotland and I would spend my days baking cakes and running up and down hills surrounded by cats.

 

 

Naffie –

Why did you become a Trustee for Womens Health Matters?

A work colleague who is also a Trustee at Womens Health Matters approached me. My colleague stated that they needed a Treasurer on the board. At that point I had never heard of Womens Health Matters.  I then read about the organisation and the positive difference it makes to the lives of women.  This sparked my interest and made me want to be part of the charity.

What is your favourite thing about Womens Health Matters?

My favourite thing about WHM is how the WHM annual event gives women we support an opportunity and courage to voice out their experiences and how the organisation has positively impacted their lives to enable them to realise that they are not alone and they have more control over their lives and health.

What do you do outside of Womens Health Matters?

I work for Leeds City council Childrens and Families. My role entails working closely with the Commissioning Team and Local elected members for Children and Young people.

I have a BSc degree in International Accounting, certified in SAP financials, at the Professional Level of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) certification and also completed more than eight years of public and private accounting experience where attention to detail is essential when managing client flies and proof reading financial statements. I am able to contribute these skills to WHM as a Treasurer.

Outside of all of the above and WHM, I enjoy going to the gym and Arabic classes.

If you had a magic wand what would you do with it?

I will make sure that every woman has justice, respect, care and compassion.

The Key Girl’s Group do some positive reflection

Last week, our youngest group – The Key girl’s group – came to the end of the programme.  For some group members, this meant their final session when they move on to other things (other groups, individual support or no longer needing any support).  As The Key is a rolling programme (meaning that people can start at any point and finish after completing a set number of sessions), the rest of the group are staying with us.  It was a time for everyone to think about how far they’ve come while they’ve been with us, whether for 5 sessions or 15, and to think about all of the coping mechanisms they’ve learnt.

They really wanted to share their journey with others, so here are the photos of some of their fabulous flowers.

The first flower showswhere they were before they came to The Key, where they used words like ‘alone’ and ‘depressed’.

The middle one shows where they are now, ‘more control & stable’, ‘Happy’ and ‘not overdosing or cutting’.

The third flowers shows where they want to be in the future including thinking about what careers and family lives they may want (click on the photos to read them).

 

 

 

Throughout the programme, we’ve talked about being kind to ourselves, especially when the world around us doesn’t feel so kind. We can receive so many negative messages about ourselves from partners, family, the media and society in general that it’s so important to take time to love ourselves.  Again, the girls thought about all of the sessions they’ve done with us, including those on abusive relationships, healthy family and friendships, self-harm, self-esteem and managing difficult emotions and came up with these ‘gratitude mirrors’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mirrors are there for when we are feeling down or rubbish about ourselves, as reminders of how amazing we are.  The girls came up with amazing positive messages including things like ‘I am capable of so much’, ‘You always do just fine’, ‘Everyone believes in you’ and ‘Never forget who you are’.

For some of us, it’s taken a really long time to be able to believe these things about ourselves so it’s especially powerful when a group of us believe them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you or someone you know would like to join The Key Girls Group we currently have spaces, it’s for girls 13+, we meet weekly in the city centre after school/ college and we provide transport. Get in touch with us on 2762851 or email sarah@womenshealthmatters.org.uk

 

 

A celebration of women’s voices in film.

Women’s Lives Leeds* have partnered with Heart and A Listening Space to show a season of films by women writers/ film makers as part of the centenary celebrations of women’s suffrage.

We are delighted to let you know about the first in the series of Women’s Voices in Film, including a Ted Talk.  Please come along and support this event, tickets are only £5.00/£4.00, hosted at HEART in Headingley on Wednesday 24 October from 7-9.30pm.  Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

You can also see the poster here –

The Divine Order Poster – final

*Womens Health Matters is a partner in the unique collaboration of 11 women and girls organisations in Leeds – Women’s Lives Leeds.