Women’s centre launches scheme

A Yorkshire women’s centre has launched a new toolkit to help organisations better support women migrants in Leeds.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 9:44 am

Created by WomenCentre, based in Kirklees and Calderdale, this new resource aims to improve services across the UK and help employers in the region attract more women from migrant backgrounds.

Women migrants undergo life-changing experiences and face further challenges as newcomers to the UK, such as isolation and mental health issues, access to employment, education or training opportunities.

WomenCentre advises services to be informed by women’s voices and lived experiences and offer creative approaches to childcare.

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They encourage connections with local specialist support and enabling women to access wider services, as well as learning opportunities about gender for service users and staff.

WomenCentre developed the toolkit while working with Connecting Opportunities, a project supporting new migrants in the Leeds City Region, which reaches many women who had not previously accessed support.

For example, funding childcare allows mothers to attend ESOL or employment support, while volunteer befriending enables them to practice English and feel part of the community. Connecting Opportunities is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

Women participants on Connecting Opportunities say they feel less isolated and more empowered. Some women have found work in the UK for the first time.

“There were lots of things I didn’t know about myself, I didn’t know what skills I had,” said Amreen from Halifax.

“I feel independent and proud of myself. And that happiness when you get your first wage!”

“Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call to make progress around gender. Our women centred approach will appeal to anyone working to address gender disparity and counter the hostile environment in the UK”, said Kate Smith, Practitioner Manager, and Veronika Susedkova, Women Centred Trainer and Advisor, from WomenCentre.

“Women Centred Working enables women to benefit from local support and opportunities while developing their own skills and confidence,” commented WomenCentre supporter Clare Jones.

WomenCentre provides holistic, one-stop services at centres in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Halifax and in the community.

Its wide-ranging services include emotional and practical support on issues such as debt, benefits, mental health.