Nova Members have been receiving great coverage of the brilliant work they do recently. Here are a few...

Well Women Centre - Winners at THe Howard League Awards

Well Women Centre was the winner of the Women Category at The Howard League Awards for their Restore Project.

Established in 1985, Well Women Centre is a registered charity providing mental health services, support and wellbeing services to women in the Wakefield District.

The Restore Project works with both statutory and non-statutory women who are involved with the criminal justice system or who are at risk of offending. The aim is to provide a holistic non-medical approach to women’s health and well-being, with the emphasis on supporting and empowering women. The Restore Project offers tailored packages of support, provided in a safe and women only environment.

Case Workers offer tailored advocacy, emotional and practical support to women. Many women have multiple and complex needs including experiences of childhood sexual abuse, violent or abusive relationships and many are apart from their children. This project enables women to access longer-term recovery support. Case workers address women’s long term, varied needs and assess the risks associated with these areas. Well Women Centre prides itself on its client focused support services for the most vulnerable and disengaged women across the Wakefield District.

Samaritans Wakefield - Featured in a Guardian article

Section of the article which features Samaritans of Wakefield and District:

Every call starts the same: “Hello, Samaritans, can I help?” From there anything can happen. You have to clear your mind, be in a positive headspace when you’re on shift. I’ve got a ritual for it now. My friend, who I volunteer with, picks me up in her car around 10pm – we have a happy playlist which we sing along to on the way in. At half-10 when we take over, we’ve already made a pot of tea, and sorted a tray of biscuits. Then we turn the phones on. From that point on it doesn’t stop. I was surprised at first at how busy we are. There’s so many people in so much despair, but I’m just glad they’re trying to reach out and talk to us.

Callers talk about loneliness, depression, suicide, grief. It could be anything really. We don’t give advice, we just encourage people to open up – and then we listen. I don’t think most people realise how much that helps. Everyone is anonymous, sometimes they’ll tell me their name, but often they won’t. Either way I’ll never know who they are, or speak with them again. That can be the hardest part, especially after a really emotional conversation. It’s the best thing for it, though. I always just assume the best happened, you can’t let yourself think about the alternative. But it’s sometimes hard not to wonder what happened to them next.

What strikes me sometimes is just how together someone’s life might sound on the surface: a caller might talk about their family, their friends, their job and their security – but in their mind there’s no light and nothing to live for. Anyone they might otherwise turn to is asleep – when you’re alone with nowhere to turn you can just keep on falling. That’s why we’re there every hour of every day.

Doing the phones at night can make you feel quite isolated. There’s no hustle and bustle, nobody driving past the windows or chatting outside. When a call ends, I check in on my shift partner and we’ll have a cuppa.

At the end we drive home in silence. We give ourselves space to wind down. You’ve been dealing with other people’s lives for hours – just minutes ago it almost felt like daytime. Now it’s pitch black and you’re all alone. When I get into bed I cuddle my partner. It can take a while – even when it’s so late – to actually fall asleep.

I never called the Samaritans before I became a volunteer, but I know friends who did. Since starting, I’ve called in myself when I’ve been struggling. Having experienced the same feelings as callers is almost a superpower when you’re a Samaritan. People can hear in my voice that I really do understand them, and it reminds me that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. In a weird way it’s like I’ve got relationships with people all over the country, but I’ll never know them and they’ll never know me. It also changes you. I ask people how they are at university, or when I’m on shift at Tesco. You learn the importance of checking people are OK.

The full article can be read on the Guardian website.

Rosalie Ryrie Foundation awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Rosalie Ryrie's statement on receiving the award:

The Rosalie Ryrie Foundation has worked tirelessly for the past 10 years staffed predominantly by volunteers. This award is an honour and a privilege for the foundation but specifically acknowledging the hard work of the volunteers, year after year.

A full list of winners can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.