Spotlight on our team with a difference… hello and goodbye to Sarah!

This ‘Spotlight on our Team’ piece will be a little different.  It’s my turn and sadly also time to say some goodbyes.  I’ve been at WHM for almost 5 years and during that time I’ve worked on lots of different projects such as Footsteps, our original group for women whose children are in someone else’s care, Include – our project for young women who may be pregnant or who are parents, our young mum’s group YUMs and some of our domestic violence groups.  I have three roles at the minute – as Operations Manager,  Project Worker on The Key and as Line Manager for our Your Space Wellbeing Worker. Sadly, as two of these pieces of work are ending, I’ll be leaving WHM in April.

I’ve absolutely loved working at Women’s Health Matters, I did a student placement here over 10 years ago and then always kept an eye out for jobs they had going.  I’m a passionate feminist and have worked with young people for almost 20 years, so The Key – a project supporting girls and young women at risk of abusive relationships – has been my dream role.  If you’d have asked me to design the perfect project for me to work on, it would have been this, not many people are able to say they’ve had their dream job so I’m really very lucky.  In my Operations role, I’ve been responsible for things like our social media and website – which has worked really well as I’m a bit of a geek too.

I’ve worked with some incredible women and girls during my time here and I’ve been inspired over and over again by so many of them.  I can’t describe how proud I am of the work I’ve been involved with and that I know my lovely colleagues at WHM will continue to do.  It’s not a huge organisation, but it has the biggest heart.

Now, it’s finally my turn at the spotlight questions…

What does your role involve?

In The Key, I do group work and one to one support for 13-25 year old girls and young women around topics like healthy relationships, abuse, staying safe, managing difficult emotions like stress and anxiety, grooming and the impact of abuse on children.

As Operations Manager, I do all kinds of things including our online and technical ‘stuff’, so things like our social media accounts, the website and newsletter, plus managing our database.  I go to meetings and forums on behalf of WHM and lead on things like our data protection/ GDPR policies and procedures.

As Your Space line manager, I supervise lovely Amareen, making sure she is fully supported and work with the Your Space Project Manager at Touchstone.

So a big, busy mix!

What’s your favourite thing about WHM?

100% the women and girls we work with. There has been so much laughter (and a good amount of tears) during my time here.  I’ve loved encouraging them to think about who they are, how to understand and try to love their bodies, and realise how awesome they are. It’s been an honour to be a part of some of their stories.

What are 3 things you enjoy doing?

I really enjoy getting out and about in nature, particularly where there is cake and coffee involved, it really helps me breathe and clear my head.

I love being around ALL the floofs (animals for those that don’t know!), seriously, all of them. Not spiders though.

I love learning too, when I started at WHM I was also starting a Masters in Gender Studies, I finished a couple of years ago and this has been the longest I’ve gone without signing up to some form of education.  I think I’m mostly just nosey about stuff!

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

Other than the obvious curing disease, poverty and hunger type stuff? I’d not only wish that all girls and women around the world were safe, but that they were thriving – living lives full of laughter and happiness, with very full self esteem buckets! Then I’d also wish that nobody every mistreated animals ever again, maybe that we worshipped them as magical creatures.  Too far, maybe?!

Huge thanks to my team here at WHM (including those wonderful women who previously worked here), to the women and girls I’ve worked with, and to the other professionals and partner organisations I’ve worked alongside over the last 5 years. Much love. x

Spotlight on our team….Bridget!

We like to give you the chance to get to know each of us a little bit more, this time our Finance & Office Manager Bridget is in the spotlight!

What does your role involve?

As the new Finance and Office Manager, I have been getting to grips with all the financial systems and procedures. I am enjoying the challenge and looking forward to using all my expertise to help shape the  future of WHM.

 

What’s your favourite thing about WHM?

From my short time working here, I can see that the WHM team provide such truly essential support, with abundance of enthusiasm, care and passion in such a tight economic time, it’s phenomenal and I am really happy to be part of the organisation.

 

What are 3 things do you enjoy doing?

I love to cook for friends and family, dinner parties and baking, any excuse, the more the merrier.

I like outdoor exercise and I am a bit of a thrill seeker so I like anything from wild swimming, running, to cliff jumping and sky diving for charity.

I like to be creative, doing abstract painting on large canvas, textile work and crochet.

 

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

I would make the standard of education equal across all Primary and Secondary schools, so it did not matter where you live, what your economic/social background is, what faith you are.  Everyone has access to the same standard of  education.

Spotlight on….Leeanne!

If you read our blog or newsletter, you’ll know that we like to give you a chance to get to know us better.  This time we find out more about Leeanne, she’s worked on lots of projects during her time with WHM and currently works on our Best Start Peer Support course, Inside Out & Rosebuds groups and also supports our Women’s Lives Leeds Partnership and MVP. She’s very busy!

Spotlight on…Leeanne –  

What does your role involve?

I run groups at Women’s Health Matters, for women whose children aren’t living with them and courses in partnership with Touchstone for parents and carers of young children.

What’s your favourite thing about WHM?

All the women I come into contact with – all the amazing, wonderful women who I work with and have become my second family, and the incredible women who come to our groups who inspire me every day with their kindness, strength and support of each other.

What are 3 things you enjoy doing?

Watching the tv – dull but it’s a great switch off

Spending time with family and friends

Getting outside and walking

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

Could I create magic wands for everyone with my magic wand please?!

 

Here’s Leeanne on the left with our lovely Elaine.

 

An update on our team – lots of changes.

We’ve had lots of changes here at WHM over the last month or two.  Three wonderful members of our team have moved on to pastures new.  We’ve said goodbye to our fantastic Director Ruth who has really steered the organisation forwards over the last four years. Fi, our Finance Manager, has been with the organisation for a long time and will be so missed.  As you may have seen from a previous blog post, our amazing Administrator Elaine has also moved on after years of keeping us all organised and cared for.  Although we’re so pleased for the three of them, we’re really sad to see them go and wish them all the luck in the world with their onward journeys!

 

This means we’ve welcomed some lovely new faces to our team – Rachel and Bridget.  Rachel Kelly is our new Chief Executive and Bridget Walker is our Finance & Office Manager.  They’ve already fit right into our office of passionate women, and we’re really thankful to have them.  We’ll introduce Bridget soon, but would like to introduce you to Rachel with our usual ‘spotlight on’ questions.

What does your role involve?

I’m currently going through a handover with my predecessor and learning lots about our vital programmes and the women and girls that we work with and support. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to my new role, bringing my own experiences and skills to Women’s Health Matters, working with our partners and supporters and continuing to develop our services.

What’s your favourite thing about WHM?

I think there are going to have to be two favourites so far; the fantastic staff team that are here, so warm, welcoming, experienced and passionate. And the privilege and pride I have already felt, when hearing the real stories and experiences of our women and girls and the positive differences our projects are making to them on their journeys.

What are 3 things do you enjoy doing?

I love reading and getting transported to somewhere new with a good book.

I’m trying to keep myself fit and especially enjoy swimming.

I enjoy spending time with friends and family, especially if it involves a curry!

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

Where to start… I would eradicate poverty across the world and ensure everyone lives in a safe and stable world, with opportunities to love, learn, grow and succeed.