During the 25 years the Booth Centre has been open the number of women attending has only increased, this rise has been reflected in services nationally. The increases in homelessness over the past decade has disproportionately affected women, and the true figures are difficult to know as women are more likely to be considered hidden homeless – people without a home but not known to any services. Women are also typically more vulnerable when rough sleeping so ensuring services adapt to meet the need of this group is essential.
The Booth Centre Women's Group has been running since we redesigned our service in August – meeting every other week. It has been important to maintain this support group. The group is formed of volunteers and visitors who are experiencing homelessness and chaired by Louise our employment and skills project worker. The upstairs of the Centre is women only for the duration of the meeting and it is a space to talk, reflect, plan, evaluate and a place to feel comfortable and accepted. The group have been instrumental in driving forward inclusive ideas for the Centre and have a lot of plans for when restrictions ease and hope more women will be able to attend.
At the last meeting good news was shared – one person has started an IT course to help them secure employment, another is volunteering at the Booth Centre and is enjoying making breakfast and making people feel welcome and two people from the group are preparing for new tenancies. So a lot of positive steps forward, but not all sessions are filled with this much good news.
To celebrate International Women's Day the group had planned some craft time to relax and be creative. Recognising that writing things down can really help managing and processing emotions and how positive affirmations can support wellbeing. One volunteer from the group led on decorating notebooks to write down thoughts and ideas for the changes about to happen in their lives. Positive affirmations were also used to decorate some photo frames to put up at home or keep safe so everyone can be reminded how fabulous they are. The volunteer wanted everyone to feel special on this celebratory Women's Group session so put together special gift bags for everyone to take away.
The Women's Group would like more female underwear to be donated, we don't have any left and the group would like to put underwear in the gift bags they give out at sessions. Please deliver to the Centre Monday-Friday 9am-3:30pm or buy via our Amazon wishlist. Thank you!