Spotlight on……Karen!

This ‘Spotlight On’ focuses on Karen who works on our LDVS project and The Key.  We asked her our usual questions so you can get to know her better!

What does your role involve?

I’ve been working at Women’s Health Matters since December 2017. My role involves working with women and young girls that have experienced domestic abuse.

What’s your favourite thing about WHM?

My favourite things about WHM are the women that I work with, I am always in awe at their strength and resolve and feel that it’s a real privilege to be part of their journey. My other favourite thing is the staff team, everybody is fab and really supportive.

What are 3 things you enjoy doing?

Out of work I really enjoy socialising (a lot!!!!) and love spending time with my amazing family.

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

Ooh big question, there’s lots I could do, give myself millions (I’d obviously share), travel around the world (flick of the wand and I’m there). I think I would make mean people good!

Spotlight on our Trustees!

Those of you who have read our blog or newsletter before will know that we try to have a ‘spotlight on’ piece that helps you get to know our team.  This time, we’ve turned the spotlight onto our trustees!!

Every charity has a governing body that takes overall responsibility for its work.  Our Trustee Board are responsible for directing how WHM is governed and run, making sure we’re meeting all of our legal requirements and are doing what we are supposed to do.  Our board work together to support us, they all bring different expertise and skills and are hugely passionate about what we do.  It’s a really important role but it’s a voluntary one, so we are extremely grateful to the six wonderful women who sit on our Board. Let’s meet some of them!

Alison Cater, Chair 

Why did you become a Trustee for Womens Health Matters?

I worked on the Include project for about 3 years and loved the organisation.  As soon as I moved on I was keen to get back involved.  I have been Chair for a few years now and am really proud of the organisation as a whole. In addition to helping WHM continue to support women across Leeds I get so much out of being involved.  As a board we sometimes have to make very difficult decisions and the way we do this boosts my confidence in other areas of my life.

What is your favourite thing about Womens Health Matters?

The way that it walks the walk! Our values and commitment are evident throughout everything we do.  And seeing the impact we have.

What do you do outside of Womens Health Matters? 

I write and deliver training about working with families and children for a range of professionals and organisations.  I do some of this on a self-employed basis and some for Leeds City Council.  I am experienced in safeguarding and lead on this for WHM.  I am also qualified in Public Health and have experience of mapping need, synthesizing the evidence base and evaluating and commissioning services.

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

I am very keen on Amie’s answer (see below) and would also like to see more kindness and curiosity in the world.


Amie Tolson, Trustee

Why did you become a Trustee for Womens Health Matters?

Wow, it’s hard to remember after so long! I don’t work due to health problems and wanted a way of giving back to the community. A friend was on the board and kept telling me how great the organisation is, and about all the wonderful work WHM does.  Eventually she wore me down and I joined the board and haven’t looked back, even though it has been challenging at times.

What is your favourite thing about Womens Health Matters?

The fact that the focus is entirely on the women we work with and help, they’re central to the ethos of the organisation. The staff are so enthusiastic about their work, and knowing we’re making a real difference to women who perhaps don’t have anyone else who really cares about them makes all the hard work worthwhile. Anyone who’s been to an AGM will have had tears in their eyes at some point, which is testament to the fantastic relationship between all the women involved in WHM – staff, volunteers, and the women themselves.

What do you do outside of Womens Health Matters? 

As I said before, I’m unable to work. I’ve had a really rough couple of years personally and I’m working really hard to overcome various challenges. I’ve been a service user of several charities similar to WHM, and feel that I bring that perspective to the board. I’ve just joined the committee of a community group, Wheels4Fun, a physiotherapist led cycling group for people with physical disabilities.

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

I’d make chocolate and cake calorie free. Or world peace. It’s a tough choice…


Emma Dickens, Trustee

Why did you become a Trustee for Womens Health Matters?

I was approached by a colleague who I worked with in the NHS. She knew that I had previously worked in the charity sector and might be interested in doing something to support a great local charity. So I met the then trustees and signed up on the spot!  It gives me a way to use my skills for a local cause I hugely value.

What is your favourite thing about Womens Health Matters?

The passion of the women that work for the charity, and the difference they make to the lives of women in Leeds.

What do you do outside of Womens Health Matters? 

I am a mum of a 9 year old daughter, and work as Head of Communications and Engagement for Locala Community Partnerships CIC.  Locala is a not for profit social enterprise, providing NHS community healthcare service across Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford.  My role involves a range of skills that I am able to utilise for Womens Health Matters, as I lead on work that includes: internal and external communications, membership development, community and patient engagement, patient experience and volunteering. I work closely with, and report directly to, the Board of Directors, which is also valuable experience.

Prior to this and my previous NHS role as Membership and Involvement Manager at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, I was Head of Fundraising for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

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

I asked my daughter for inspiration and she said she would make everyone happy. I am not sure I can beat that, although I think I would make it happy, empathetic and kind.  And perhaps treat myself to a few more hours in each day.

Sad Farewell To Nicola

This week we say a very sad goodbye to our lovely Nic.  She’s worked for WHM for many years across lots of projects, most recently on The Key, YUMS, Include and on the LDVS Domestic Violence Group. Nic is always the calm voice of reason and is a huge source of knowledge for the rest of the team. She’ll be greatly missed by all of us and by the women she works, she’s had a massive impact on so many lives.


Nicola is moving on to continue her fantastic work with women over with our friends at Basis Yorkshire where she’ll be supporting women who experienced Child Sexual Exploitation as a child or young person.  We love Basis and, as lucky as they are to have Nic, we know she’ll love working within another service that puts the experiences of women at the centre of everything they do.  We wish her the best of luck!


We asked Nicola for some words as a ‘farewell blog post’ and love what she came up with!



W…Wonder women through and through
M…Mixed with extraordinary
E…Exceptional and unique
N…New challenges ahead
S…Special…extra special to me

H…Hugs…lots of hugs, happiness and laughter
E…Endings…not a chance
A…After 11 years with huge mixed emotions it’s time to move on
L…Lucky to have known each and every one of you
T…Team…new and former colleagues…what more can I say
H…Hungry…not a chance…good cake…right on cue

…memories…lots and lots of memories
A…AGM…all the rush…then the hush…the inspirational voices
T…Taught…by the very best
T…Tears…there’s been a few
E…Ears…thank you for lending them in my times of need
R…Relax…you deserve it…please do
S…Sad Goodbyes…but only until I see you again.


Spotlight on…. Aneira!

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! =)