Halifax’s Women’s Activity Centre (WAC) recently got together with other local VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) organisations to celebrate a belated Eid al-Adha.
Based in the Park Ward area of Halifax, WAC successfully delivers daily support to older women primarily from South Asian backgrounds who are at risk of isolation, and loneliness due to cultural differences.
The afternoon of festivity saw a real community spirit, with members from VAC, VSI Alliance, Halifax Opportunities Trust, St Augustine’s Centre, Disability Partnership Calderdale, Citizens Advice Calderdale, Calderdale Council and more coming together with clients and staff members at WAC to enjoy delicious homemade food, mehndi and conversation.
The centre prides itself on offering culturally, religiously and linguistically sensitive care, empowering the women they support through establishing strong social circles and increasing access to information and advice to promote a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Many clients at the centre enjoy numerous facilities, such as exercise machines, treadmills, massage chairs and even an infrared sauna for those much-needed self-care days. Warm home-cooked meals, which are Halal friendly are also available, and space is provided for prayer and reflection. For those who like to get creative, there are resources for sewing, embroidery and knitting.
Marie Mitchell, Manager of WAC said: “These ladies are some of the most vulnerable and deprived people in our society. With the loss of their husbands, they lose their place in their community, and through cultural and language barriers they find it hard to find a new place for themselves. Here they are in a situation that is safe and welcoming, with a peer group who understand, and professional care and support.
We encourage our ladies to tailor the activities in the centre to suit their best needs. If they are fully engaged with what is happening, they are more motivated to be part of it. They love coming to see their friends and making an effort with their appearance, it is their main and sometimes only reason to leave the house!”
The Women’s Activity Centre further support their local community with projects such as Women Working in Health & Social Care. In partnership with Calderdale Council’s Inclusive Economy Team, Calderdale College and Bluebird Care, WAC offers women in Calderdale the opportunity to gain work experience and further their education, allowing them to build the necessary skills and confidence for employment in the health and social care sector.
In collaboration with Unique Ways, a parent-carer-led organisation offering support and guidance to families across Calderdale that have children with additional needs, WAC offers a support group for women from South Asian and ethnic minority families with disabled children. The group runs every 4th Tuesday of the month, 10 am – 11:30 am (apart from school holidays, Ramadan and Eid). The next group will be Tuesday 26th September.
This is a safe space where women in Calderdale can share their experiences, gain support and create new friendships without fear of judgement or misunderstanding.
The Women’s Activity Centre is a testament to the sense of community and bringing people together in Park Ward and truly deserves recognition for the positive impact it has on lives in our area.