Women and girls in Leeds had an exciting opportunity yesterday to come together and have their voices heard. Women and girls accessing the 12 organisations who make up Women’s Lives Leeds were invited to attend the event and share their ideas for how to get involved in developing the service.
There was a great turnout – over 100 women and girls attended the event which took place at the St George’s Centre is Leeds city centre. Women and girls of all ages came from all over the city to get together and have their voices heard.
The Women’s Lives Leeds project has been funded by the Big Lottery Women and Girl’s Initiative and supports women and girls in Leeds to have their needs met, and empower them to lead safer and healthier lives.
The project is specifically focussing on women and girls with multiple needs; they may be experiencing mental health difficulties, domestic violence and abuse, and housing problems, amongst other issues.
Sara from Getaway Girls, one of the partners of the project, shared her story of how she started engaging with the organisation, actively participated in its activities, and is now an essential volunteer.
She explains “by getting involved in shaping this service, we can ensure that it is meeting our needs and supporting us to live happy and fulfilling lives”.
We spoke to Mehnaz who attended the event “It was great to have an opportunity to get our voices heard. I met other women who live in the city and we got to share our ideas on how we can take part in the project.”
The event was also an opportunity for women and girls to sign up to join the Women and Girls Advisory Board. This group will be absolutely crucial to Women’s Lives Leeds in ensuring that the service user voice is central to everything they do.
Over 20 women and girls signed up to join the group, which will have its first meeting on 23rd February.
Jackie Offord, Peer Support and Participation Worker for the project was thrilled with the turn out and the enthusiasm shown by the women and girls. She says “We are so pleased that so many women and girls came along yesterday to get involved with the project. Co-producing the service with women and girls across Leeds is at the heart of our project and we want to give them as many opportunities as possible to have their voices heard.”
“We hope to continue to grow the number of women and girls getting involved. We will be flexible with our approaches to ensure that the women and girls get the most of their experiences.”
The project is also organising the Leeds Women and Girls Forum – this is open to all women and girls in Leeds who is interested in making sure that women and girls issues are a priority for services and The Council.
The Forum will be having its first meeting on 29th March from 10am-12pm at the Leeds Church Institute and is open to anyone who would like to attend. You can sign up for the event here. For more information about the project, its events and the Women and Girls Hub take a look around our website, or visit our the social media pages – Facebook: Womenslivesleeds and Twitter: @leeds_women.