Investment theme: Building skills and confidence, Growing social networks
How did the Women’s Fund help the North West Women’s Centre
The North West Women’s Centre received a grant of £1,920 to contribute towards the cost of a 48 week programme. The Women’s Centre offers a variety of classes throughout the year for women to learn new skills and socialise. The money was split between the cost of tutors and buying materials for the activities. With the help of the grant popular classes were able to continue and new ones added to the programme providing variety and new opportunities for learning and progression. The timetable now offers cooking classes, knitting, a mosaic class, drawing and painting, drama, keep fit and a new job club in addition to the drop in sessions. A free crèche is provided for parents and grandparents with the responsibility of caring for children.
Progress made by the North West Women’s Centre
By April 2014, visits to the centre had risen from 2,000 the previous year to 6,000. There were 820 women attending and by September 2014 figures rose by 20%. 75% of the women who use the centre are aged between 23 and 59 years old from a range of racial backgrounds. To attract new members and encourage the women to stay after drop in sessions, more volunteers were brought in so the café is able to have longer opening hours and a new soup club began where the women were taught how to make different kinds of soup. The new job club at the centre is the only women’s job club in Glasgow. Employees from the local job centre came to talk to the women about the issues they may face whilst looking for work. A partnership with Enable also provided a tutor for the job club to help set the women up for looking for employment, for example, setting up email accounts and writing CV’s.
North West Women’s Centre has plans to refurbish their building, with help from architect students from Glasgow Caledonian University. This aims to further increase the number of women attending the centre by making it look more inviting and creating a brighter environment. There is also a possibility of acquiring a portacabin to increase space for classes. As the job club is proving very popular and effective, it will continue in the long term and the centre is looking to employ a welfare rights officer to help alongside the club. With the success of the partnership with Enable the centre is looking at other possible partnerships which could benefit the women. In 2014 the North East Women’s Centre celebrated their 20th anniversary and are currently writing a book about the centre’s story as seen by the women who’s lives have been influenced by the centre.
How the North West Women’s Centre helps women
“Our mission is to empower women, to help them make informed choices to move on with their lives.”
The North West Women’s Centre provides a safe place for women to escape from any negativity they may be experiencing. “This centre is so important to me, I have nowhere else to go, it’s a lifeline.” Many of the women attending the centre have been in relationships in which they have experienced domestic abuse whether physical, emotional or financial. If a women is still staying at home with an abusive partner the centre helps them make an emergency plan, for when they decide to leave. In an emergency situation the centre will take the woman to Women’s Aid.
The centre also sees a lot of women with mental health issues and women who have lost their way in life. The drop in sessions at the centre provide a place to build social networks and help the women to feel less isolated. “You will never feel like you do not fit in at the Women’s Centre.” The classes available provide distraction as well learning opportunities such as the knitting, mosaic, drawing and painting. The computer skills class and job club also helps build confidence for women to get back into the world of work. The drama class is very successful with getting the women to express themselves through confidence building exercises.
“I received my first ever certificate from the computer class here at the centre.” The centre has a positive atmosphere to uplift women when they walk through the door, to inspire them to develop goals and give them the confidence to achieve them.
If you’ve been moved by this story please do just one thing – get in touch with Shona to learn more about investing in the Women’s Fund for Scotland.