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Women’s Lives Leeds: Empowering Systems Change

The Women’s Lives Leeds Empowering Systems Change project is a NLCF Women and Girls Initiative funded project that delivers a range of opportunities, including frontline services that enabled women and girls to lead safer and healthier lives.

The project aims to achieve the following 3 outcomes:

  • Improved and extended access for vulnerable women and girls in Leeds to the services and support they want, when they choose.
  • A holistic response to ensure that the needs of women and girls with multiple and complex issues are better supported.
  • Women and Girls will be empowered to support their peers and influence service delivery, development and design across the city.

Complex Needs Service

As part of the project, Women’s Lives Leeds runs a complex needs service, providing one-to-one support for women and girls who may benefit from holistic support, which individual services may not have been able to provide. The project has a dedicated team of complex needs workers, based in a range of organisations across the alliance, who work with women and girls over a period of time to support them in a variety of ways.

The service aims to be person centred and does not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach, providing flexible and adaptable support to help women and girls become more confidentand independent, more able to access support, and more able to make decisions about their futures. Women who have used our complex needs service have fed back that the gender specific nature of the service, specifically for women and girls, has been beneficial, and has helped them to feel comfortable using the service, and to develop trusting relationships with their complex needs’ workers.

Support provided through the complex needs service can take a range of forms, including but not limited to: Face-to-face, telephone, or online support sessions, support with accessing services, support with making and attending appointments, help with accessing education, training, or employment, support with legal proceedings, advocacy, issue-based intervention sessions, educational sessions, emotional support, creative sessions or support through activities, and much more.

4 in 5 women said they felt good about themselves infographic
75% of women able to make healthy decisions infographic
Womens Speak Group members stood together

Women Speak Group

Women Speak is the advisory group for the Women and Girls Alliance Leeds. It is made up of women who have used services from one or more of the twelve organisations in the alliance, and who are passionate about supporting the Alliance to make Leeds a safe and equal city for women and girls.

The group meets bimonthly to work on internal Alliance projects, such as informing strategy and policy, and also gets involved with external voice and influence projects across the city, whether that be sitting on focus groups or taking part in campaigns.

The group ensures that the Alliance is making decisions which are relevant to, and informed by, the women and girls they represent, and gives women on the group the opportunity to build community, develop skills, and work together to bring about change.

If you’ve used services from the W&GAL and are interested in joining the Women Speak group, contact Eleanor at Eleanor@womenshealthmatters.org.uk

Strategic Alliance Working

Strategic alliance working, as part of the Empowering Systems Change project, aims to increase the influence of women and girls in Leeds, through developing the external influence of alliance partners. A strategic alliance development co-ordinator works as part of the project to support the leadership to work together so they can have a powerful voice and influence on policy and the lives of women and girls locally and nationally. This involves supporting the leadership to work together to develop a strategic plan to determine how they can most effectively influence policy and decision making. Collectively the Alliance Partners sit on a number of local and national panels which ensure the alliances’ voice informs policy and decision making in local bodies in the city, and beyond.

“Being part of W&GA is important to Women’s Counselling as part of our passion to support each woman and girl in Leeds access the support she needs at the right time. Being an Alliance means our services are complementary rather than overlapping, we can see a bigger picture of need, demand and gaps in the city, and together we can bring a clear strong voice to policy makers.” – Women’s Counselling and Therapy Service Leeds

“Since 2015 Getaway Girls has embraced the opportunity to be part of the Women and Girls Alliance Leeds. The partnership has worked together to create a strong united voice for the needs of women and girls in Leeds and worked towards creating change. Getaway Girls has benefited in many ways at a strategic level amplifying issues affecting young women and operational level including Complex Needs Support. We have benefitted from the women Friendly Leeds initiative and led on vocal Girls Hub with many opportunities for young women to share their lived experience and campaign for change. Getaway Girls has worked closely with the Alliance organisations where we can support each other’s practice, share ideas, resources and approaches and make a difference for women and girls in Leeds.” – Flavia Docherty, CEO of Getaway Girls