A NEW women’s forum for the city will be set up as part of the Women’s Lives Leeds network, the Yorkshire Evening Post can exclusively reveal.
The plans aim to offer women and girls the chance to have their voices heard by charities, local organisations and council representatives.
Kate Bratt-Farrar, chief executive at Leeds Women’s Aid, said: “One of the first things we will be doing is establishing a women’s forum in the city.
“We are really committed to making this project a success and give a real voice for women and girls in the city.
“We want to influence policy as well as have a say about day-to-day services.
“With a female leader of Leeds City Council – councillor Judith Blake – being a really strong woman, we hope to carry on that tone and enable women and girls to have a voice.”
The plans for a women’s forum are still in the early stages but it is hoped that once it is launched, monthly meetings will be organised with key figures in the city.
There are also plans to develop a Virtual Women’s Centre, which will be an online service offering information about all of the help and support available within the city.
Kate added: “There are women and girls who don’t know that there are services and support out there for them and we want to change that.
“It’s so important as we know that women and girls are facing increasingly complex situations and we want to find a way to help them.
“There’s no co-ordinated service that caters for women in complex situations in the city and this is a great way of offering a joined-up system.”
Work is currently underway on the web-based system, with plans to launch the site later this year.
Speaking about the plans, Flavia Docherty, director at Leeds-based Getaway Girls, added: “We are much stronger together than apart and the WLL will be putting women and girls at the centre of what we do to see what exactly it is that they need.
“We will see ourselves as one service.
“They will be able to get support from all the different organisations but it’s all accessible through just one door.”