Women's Work Derby

Women's Work Derby

Brown hare, David Tipling / 2020 Vision

More about Women's Work

Women’s Work is a National multiple award winning charity, with a 16 year history of working with and supporting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women living in Derbyshire, achieving positive outcomes for many of the 850+ women and children they support every year. They provide a service for the hardest to reach women living chaotic lifestyles, personalising interventions for offenders, abused women, women with addiction, mental health problems and women who are sexually exploited.

Throughout the charities’ 16 year history, they have built a sound reputation of a professional service provider working with and supporting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women living in Derbyshire and achieving positive and life changing outcomes.

Their service users take part in activities and workshops to support their health and wellbeing. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust were contacted by Women’s Work Derby to design a programme which supported health and wellbeing through outdoor activities. With input from staff at Women’s Work we designed a bespoke 12 week programme to encourage participation in nature, improve knowledge of local wildlife, and allow participants to create more wildlife friendly environments in their local park and their own homes.

I am proud that I joined this group and had an amazing time outdoors. It was a pleasure and I enjoyed every bit of it

Our work

Working with Rachel Sandford, Volunteer & Workshop Coordinator at Women’s Work, we designed a series of 12 sessions. These had to be flexible enough to allow for clients to miss sessions if needed due to anxiety, ill health and caring responsibilities, but also allow participants to build up confidence in taking part in activities outside.

These activities began in May 2019. Emma Wood, People Engagement Officer at DWT designed a flexible programme including activities such as making bee homes, short walks around Arboretum Park in Derby, making bird boxes, leaf pressing, pond dipping, wild mocktail making, and leaf printing.

With excellent support from Derby City Council Parks team, we were given access to the Arboretum wildlife garden which allowed for a safe and secure spot for the participants to enjoy nature.

At the final celebration session, the group had built up enough confidence to take a train journey from Derby to our Whistlestop Education Room in Matlock Bath. Once there the participants learnt how to fire light and cooked their lunch on a campfire.

We are currently looking for funding to continue these sessions and also work with similar groups to improve health and wellbeing through access to nature.

The outcome

With a small and initially nervous group, we have had some incredible feedback on this programme. It has made a measurable difference to their wellbeing in just a few weeks of participation. Some of their feedback during sessions is shared below:

“this is a breath of fresh air” said J. When asked why, she said lots of things are run inside 4 walls and she feels closed in, she feels much better outside.

“I am really benefitting from being outside for these sessions and learning new things” J

“I wish I could do this session every day and that it never ends” M

At the end of the programme, we asked the group some evaluation questions as follows:

Where would you be if you weren’t here?

There was an overwhelming feeling from those taking part, that if they weren't at our sessions, they would be stuck at home, and watching tv.

“In front of the TV”

“I would be in my bed crying my eyes out all day”

What are you proud of?

The sessions have helped to improve attendees confidence, which is one of the most important elements of the sessions and possible one of the greatest outcomes.  People stated that they were proud to even just turn up, and we are so happy they felt comfortable enough to take part with us.

“I am proud that I joined this group and had an amazing time outdoors. It was a pleasure and I enjoyed every bit of it”

“I was proud of making my bird house”

“taking part – being active in a group setting"

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