Volunteers have a pop-up success
On Tuesday 9 May, North Ayrshire Women’s Aid (NAWA) held a free community pop-up clothing event for women and children within their hub in the Saltcoats office.
NAWA have been looking to open a Therapy Room in the hub, which has been delayed due to the pandemic. The purpose of the Therapy Room is to offer women a wider range of treatments such as massage and reiki to help with stress management. NAWA have delivered these services before, and it was immensely beneficial to women. Historically NAWA had a connection with the local college and their students, who completed their placement hours and provided these treatments to women as well as staff at times. Once the room is ready NAWA hope to reconnect with the college and offer this space to students. They also plan to train some of their staff in a range of alternative therapies such as Indian Head Massage, Hand Massage and Ear Acupuncture.
Lorraine Kerr, Service Manager said “We are really looking forward to offering these treatments to women again. The hub was designed primarily with the voices of women using our service and to have the last space complete is super exciting. When women come in to see their worker it can be highly emotional, and we are always looking at ways to ensure our environment is trauma informed. The therapy room will be an excellent asset to the hub, right beside our sensory room.”
To bring the Therapy Room to life NAWA Volunteers worked hard to clear and organise some space. Whilst doing so, they realised they had excess stock from the number of generous donations received. Given the current cost of living crisis the Volunteers decided to organise a pop-up event that would benefit the local community allowing NAWA to reach out to local women. Volunteers worked to organise the range of essential items available including pyjamas, slippers, toiletries, nappies, and sanitary products as well as children’s shoes and some school uniform items.
Gemma Hay, NAWA Volunteer tells us “using social media, we ‘put the word out’ and we were overwhelmed with the response. Due to this and the feedback received we kept the event running throughout the week and continued to welcome women and children into the hub”.
The social media post on Facebook alone was shared over 330 times, reaching a total of 28,633 people. The Facebook page also gained over 70 new likes and followers, reaching people in the community who may require support from the service. Most of the engagement was from women living within the Three Towns area.
NAWA cover the whole of North Ayrshire; staff travel to meet women across the area who are needing support. Most of the worker’s time is spent out and about providing support to women in their communities. NAWA have always planned to have another hub in the Irvine / Kilwinning area…..watch this space!!
Gemma said “everyone who came in was happy and so grateful for the items they received. Some of the women commented that the event was very helpful considering how expensive everything is right now! It was also a great way to get involved with the local community and talk to women who would not normally visit the service about the work that North Ayrshire Women’s Aid does too.”
More importantly, the event led to several referrals to the service for those needing support with their experience of Domestic Abuse. Mary Beglan, Chief Officer said “one of the issues we wanted to address by opening a hub was removing barriers for women experiencing Domestic Abuse. We believe that by offering a range of opportunities to the community, such as this pop-up event then we will become more accessible to those needing our support.”
Following the success of the first pop up event, NAWA intend to hold these pop-up events on a more regular basis, all thanks to the continued support of the local community and donors, which the service is grateful for.
The next event is already planned, NAWA are having a Summer Open Day on Friday 21 July where women will be able to access school items for their children going back to school. Unfortunately, due to flooding into the hub they have had to re-locate this event to Saltcoats Town Hall. The event will provide an opportunity to learn more about the support and groups NAWA has to offer as well as fun activities for the kids.
North Ayrshire Women’s Aid is a unique specialist service which provides both emotional and practical support to women and children affected by domestic abuse. Support women who are currently experiencing domestic abuse as well as women who have experienced abuse in the past. There are a variety of ways the service can provide support both emotionally and practically.
For further information you can call North Ayrshire Women’s Aid on 01294 602424 (select Option 2).
Outwith office hours you can call the 24hour national helpline on 0800 027 1234