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Monday, July 15, 2024

Women’s Organisation Creates Wellbeing Support Programme & New Role During Pandemic

The Growing Club CIC recently received a funding grant from the Smallwood Trust, which has enabled them to focus on wellbeing, which is a worrying aspect facing women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Compassionate Communications professional, Sarah Ludford, has been appointed as Wellbeing Officer for the organisation, helping women within the network and beyond, to have opportunities and resources to look after their own personal wellbeing.

Increasingly, The Growing Club has seen women suffer the brunt of the pandemic, through businesses being disproportionately impacted, which backs up with research provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and United Nations during the first lockdown.

During their Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the IFS found that women and young people (under 25s) were more likely to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with long-term economic consequences for these groups. They believed this is due to these groups being more likely to hold employment in areas that have been forced to close down due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements, like restaurants and hotels for example.

The UN also warned of the global COVID-19 crisis increasing inequalities for women. Senior gender adviser, Nahla Valji, said:

“There is no single society where we’ve achieved equality between men and women, and so this pandemic is being layered on top of existing inequalities, and it’s exacerbating those inequalities.”
With this in mind, a Wellbeing Officer role was created to help women in business (and indeed, all women – they don’t have to be running businesses to take part) to mitigate some of the impacts on mental, emotional, physical and personal wellbeing that The Growing Club’s own research indicated as crucial aspects to address.

Sarah Ludford said:

“Wellbeing is having the resources to thrive, life may not be perfect but our cup is full enough for us to do more than just keep going. Wellbeing is getting our needs met – needs for movement and exercise, play, company, support, self-care, belonging, healthy food and much more.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been particularly hard this last year because even though community kindness has increased we are being forced into keeping away from other people, many do not have the resources they need to look after themselves and their families and stress and worry kicks in over fear for the future.

“One of the first things we did was create a survey, asking how women were currently feeling, what were they struggling with and what support did they feel they could benefit from. When we analysed the results, things like needing help in areas such as mindfulness, creativity, company and fun rated highly, along with self-compassion and self-confidence.

“We have created an accessible, comprehensive and free (or a donation if people are able to) programme through online workshops, training sessions and video link to reflect what women’s responses were. There is a huge range of offerings – from musical theatre workshops, to art for self-care, to self-shiatsu – at different times of the day, some of which can be played back at times suitable for individuals. Children can also join in with many of our activities.”
An innovative Peer Listening Project was also created, to help support women by creating space to listen and be listened to, through a listening partner scheme. The project enables women to improve their listening skills and also have the opportunity to be heard.

Jane Binnion, managing director of The Growing Club said:

“The core ethos of The Growing Club is to support community wealth building and community wellbeing.

“This pandemic has hugely affected both of those areas but I have personally been shocked to witness daily, the emotional impact on women from the increased workload and the isolation.

“Obviously it doesn’t only impact women, but for example, when women are the caregivers, if they have no emotional resource left, what happens to the people they care for?

“Receiving this money right now has been perfect to enable us to provide a wonderful range of activities to support women in this difficult time. And the upside of lockdown is that all our work is being delivered online, so it can be accessed by women all over the country – and beyond.”

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