A few months ago our Director Ruth was interviewed regarding the Women’s Lives Leeds Consortium. Womens Health Matters are one of 12 women’s organisations across Leeds that came together as part of a consortium to work in partnership to support the women of Leeds. It’s a piece of work that we’re hugely proud to be a part of and it’s inspirational to watch the organisational relationships develop and grow, especially at a time where many third sector organisations find themselves having to compete for funding.
You can read Ruth’s perspective on the consortium and how it was to sit around the table with so many expert partners to focus on a joint vision here.
To find out more about Women’s Lives Leeds and to follow the developing work of the consortium, check out the website.
This month’s Maternity Services Liaison Committee meeting took place within the second annual Baby Week Leeds at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last month. The morning meeting included professionals from Leeds University, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Clinical Commissioning Group, Head of Midwifery and a service user. The MSLC meets every two months and as a topic of discussion we invite a representative from other services around the city working families and children. In particular Karen and Ann from Family Support & Parenting Practitioners helped give an overview of the their courses available to families as this was a conversation at the previous meeting on where parents can get support following the birth of their babies. Interesting discussions followed along with updates regarding the changing of the maternity involvement structure becoming more regional – more information on this in the near future!
Continuing the theme of maternity services the event following the MSLC meeting in the main foyer saw ‘Maternity Strategy Conversations’ which welcomed the public to bring their baby to speak to professionals regarding different experiences of maternity care in Leeds, including; breastfeeding, discussing birth plans and supporting preparation for parenthood, young parents and the Haamla Service!
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn spoke a few words about the importance of engaging the families and saw the day as being the last event of another successful Baby Week in Leeds.
As well as the parliamentary presence and just as important was Johnathan Freeman Clinical Director of Women’s clinical Service Unit, speaking to service user and networking with fellow professionals.
Lucy Potter who chairs the MSLC is also the founder of Baby Week which is an adaptation of the Brazilian Semana do Bebe (2000) (UNICEF 2010). This is an early years initiative aimed to join multi professionals and cross sector services within family, children and maternity services across Leeds. The idea is to help improve communities engagement in services available to them and promote new policies including The Best Start plan.
The opening ceremony (Monday 11 September 2017) was at the Crowne Plaza and helped launch the first ever Baby Box scheme in Yorkshire. This helped attract families to obtain a Baby Box which helps to promote safer sleeping. The scheme includes a syllabus which parents are required to undertake in order to fully understand the learning benefits of the critical growth developments of their baby. This service is universal and information on where to get the Baby Boxes can be obtained from the Haamla service and children’s centres across the city.
Our lovely Elaine and Leeanne were also there supporting an MSLC volunteer and representing the rest of Womens Health Matters.
For more information on the MSLC please click here.
One of our young women’s groups have been talking about self-esteem and body image recently. Last week we managed to do a huge list of what society tells women they should look like. There were lots of ‘tanned, but not too tanned’, ‘tall, but not too tall’, ‘fit, but not too muscley’.
We talked about whether anyone actually looks like that and what life would be like for the perfect woman (who we called ‘Patrycia!). In the end, we decided that as young women, we can’t win, even if we had all the things on the list, we’d probably feel that we had to look different and always have to keep working on our bodies!
We designed our own ‘Perfect Patrycia’s’ who were, erm, interesting!!
Our biggest message to young women (and older women!) is, there ARE NO PATRYCIA’S! Society will always tell us we need to keep working on the way we look and if we take that message on board, it’ll be hard to ever be happy in our own skin. It’s so hard not to listen to those messages but in group we’re going to be looking at how we challenge those critical voices in our head and the things we hear others say about women.
Ignore those inner voices, remember you’re awesome!
Every few months we try to have a bit of a ‘getting to know you’ from one of our team. This time it was lovely Aneira’s turn. She’s has been with us a few months now so it’s time to see how she’s settling in!
Spotlight on our staff
What does your role involve?
I work on The Key project which supports girls and young women (13-25) that have witnessed or experienced domestic violence. We address all sorts of topics in our groups, including healthy and unhealthy relationships, friendships, consent, staying safe, and self-esteem and confidence. We also look at any topics that the young women feel would be beneficial.
What’s your favourite thing at Womens Health Matters?
I love all the women that work here- everyone is so happy and friendly, it’s a very easy going place to work.
What are three things you like to do?
I like to chill out with a good film or a TV series (Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are my current favourites). I also don’t mind a good documentary every now and again.
I enjoy arts and crafts – drawing, colouring and making little bits and bobs for around the house and the garden
Shopping for shoes!! I love shoes!
If you had a magic wand what would you do with it?
I don’t like to see people unhappy or upset so I would use it to make everyone happy and smiley! =)