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 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!

Summertime and the living is….busy!

Although it already feels like summer was a million years ago, as usual it was a busy time here at WHM.  As some of our groups close over the summer holidays, we use it as a time to go on trips if we can, or catch up with women and girls for one to one appointments (and sometimes even to go on holiday ourselves!).  Here are some of the highlights of our summer.

Hannah, or Rainbow Hearts Wellbeing Case Worker supports women on a one to one basis. She fills us in on some of the things she’s been up to over summer –

“As the Wellbeing Case Worker working with women who are seeking asylum I have recently been focusing on the link between mental health and physical health. I have supported women in getting Leeds Cards so they can access reduced cost gym and swimming sessions. This has helped women to build up their support networks and get to know their local area better, as well as improving their physical health. Women seeking asylum often struggle to access gyms or exercise classes due to the cost, the Leeds Card offers women the opportunity to be able to go to the gym or go swimming at a reduced cost which makes it more accessible for all women to attend. The women who have been have enjoyed the sessions and are keen to keep going!”

Picnics featured A LOT in our summer trips, with Rainbow Hearts, Breathing Space and our Leeds Domestic Violence Service groups.

Tayba fills us in on the Breathing Space trips –

“The women and children enjoyed a picnic in Temple Newsam and a walk around the farm where they got to see a pig giving birth. This was all topped off by some cooling ice-cream and lollies. Many of us were also running away from the swarm of wasps! A great day out though.

On another trip, the women also went to Roundhay Park and had a picnic, again enjoying the greenery with the beautiful sunshine. Walking in nature is one of the things we talk about when we look at self-care in our groups.

The final trip for the Summer break was to Meanwood Farm. Again, connecting with nature and animals is very therapeutic and a fun day out with the kids.

Finally, the women expressed their appreciation and gratitude for having the opportunity to have day trips with the children during the summer break, which can be very testing for 6 weeks. Days out don’t have to cost much, kids get to run about, you get to take a break from boring chores perhaps- a great way to keep some boredom at bay!”

 

Rainbow Hearts also enjoyed a gorgeous day in Roundhay Park in the summer and took one of our favourite photos ever –

 

Lastly, our girls and young women’s project The Key went on an awesome trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Some of the day was a bit rainy, but that didn’t stop us having a great day. They were filming the TV show ‘Big Week at the Zoo’ while we were there so we were able to have a bit of a nosey at that too. We had such a fantastic time, with one little boy saying his favourite animals were ‘the monkeybears’!  You can tell Sarah was on photo taking duty as, by the end of the day, we had only taken photos of otters!

Thanks to all the team, the women & girls who came along, and also the children who joined us too for making it a summer to remember.

 

 

The Key has been shortlisted for awards!

We’re so proud to announce that our young women’s healthy relationships project ‘The Key’ has been shortlisted for the Children and Young People Now Awards 2019! We’ve been shortlisted in THREE categories – the PSHE Education Award, the Early Intervention Award and the Safeguarding Award.

The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and works with girls and young women aged 13-25 from across Leeds who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, abusive relationships.  We offer group work programmes – one for girls, one for young women and a third for those moving on from the initial group programmes.  These focus on managing difficult emotions, improving confidence, identifying abuse in relationships and staying safe.  We can do some intensive individual support with group members where needed too, this might be around things like managing mental health or risk, accessing other support, confidence building, attending meetings and looking at what a healthy relationship is.

We also deliver group work programmes in schools looking at healthy relationships and staying safe, plus one-off ‘bitesize’ sessions on healthy relationships. It’s a fantastic project and we’re so proud of it.  Wish us luck at the awards!

 

The Key Girls Group is taking referrals!

We currently have spaces available for our city-wide healthy relationships group for 13-16 year old girls.

The Key girls group is for young women aged 13-16 from Leeds. It’s for those who have been in an abusive relationship themselves, have grown up around one, or who have something going on that might mean they may enter an unhealthy relationship in the future for example low mood, low confidence or difficult family relationships.

The group meets weekly on a Thursday evening in the city centre during term time, we provide taxis to get to group and home again. It’s a 26 week programme with sessions covering topics such as staying safe, building self-esteem, healthy family relationships, the impact of abuse on children, identifying relationship abuse, CSE, self-harm and managing difficult emotions like stress and anger.  The group is really friendly and there’s no pressure to share anything they don’t want to.

When group members have completed the initial programme, there is the opportunity to go on to our Moving On Group if support is still needed.  Young women can contact us themselves or be referred by a professional.

For more information, a leaflet or to download a referral form, please see our website – https://www.womenshealthmatters.org.uk/what-we-do/the-key/.

*Please note that we also have a Key young women’s group for those aged 16-25, but this group is currently full.*