Weekly drop-in session aimed at empowering women

Women’s Wellbeing Wednesdays is, as the name suggests, an opportunity for women to focus on all aspects of their wellbeing.

It’s a monthly drop-in session aimed at empowering women in the Southend area and the next one will be help on Wednesday June 16 at St Vincent’s Centre in Short Street from noon to 2pm.

The idea is for women to chat in a relaxed and informal setting about anything that is worrying them, from mental and physical health concerns, to financial, housing and relationship issues.

Much of St Vincent’s Southend’s work is with homeless people, either at the centre or at its Kindness Kitchens, and project assistant Lucy Watts says volunteers found many of them were women with different needs.

“We have a great relationship with the police in Southend and, while talking to some of the officers, together we came up with the idea of hosting women’s wellbeing mornings with various charities and support agencies,” she says.

“Whether it’s mental or physical health, including healthy eating and exercise, or financial, housing or relationship advice, women can come along and speak to local agencies and charities about anything worrying them and get the help they need in helping them to move on in their lives.

“Our first session was successful and we feel sure Women’s Wellbeing Wednesdays will grow bigger. So, if you are struggling with anything, please pop along and have a chat.”

PC Amber Sawyer says it’s been good working with the charity and helping to make a difference to local women.

“Getting everyone together in one room makes sense because women only have to make one visit to get the help and advice they need.

“Whether it’s financial advice, information about housing, health and wellbeing or relationship issues, someone will be there to help,” she says, “and if we can’t sort it out on the day, we can signpost people to the support required.”

Tina Bellamy, of Southend Council’s Adult Social Care team, attended the first Women’s Wellbeing Wednesday and says that in the fortnight afterwards, she referred three women to St Vincent’s Southend for help.

“They have been supported with food and household items and are looking forward to attending the next wellbeing session for some emotional support in a safe and non-judgemental environment,” she said.

“My colleagues and I are looking forward to developing partnership working and referring women who will benefit from this service through further Women’s Wellbeing Wednesday events.”

Everyone Health promotes health and wellness within the Southend community and its services are free to anyone aged 16 or over who lives or works within, or has a GP in, the district.

Health trainer Julie Zacharia also attended the first Women’s Wellbeing Wednesday.

She said: “Good nutrition and exercise can help you focus and combat stress. So, making changes in behaviour to focus on nutrition, physical activity and inner wellbeing is so important.

“It all helps people to build confidence and make healthy choices. We can help them with goal-setting and behavioural change and we can advise on healthy food and exercise.

If necessary, we will signpost people to other organisations we think can help them, such as alcohol and drugs support.”

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk