We help hundreds of women each year. Some of the women who have been coming to us for support have kindly let us share their stories and experiences of using Derby Women’s Centre.
I have been attending the Derby Women’s Centre for a few months now seeing my fantastic counsellor, who has started me on a fantastic journey of self-discovery. The person I thought I was, is gradually getting replaced by who I was before my trauma happened. Although I still have a long way to go, small changes are making a huge impact in my day to day life. I have found poetry and art a useful tool to enable me to explore the feelings and emotions buried deep within. By writing and putting things on paper it has helped me make sense and change my perception on a lot of what I believed true. Guided and supported by my counsellor helping me make sense of these suppressed emotions is starting to put me in a better place.
Ruth has been using Derby Women’s Centre for several years after she suffered from a mental breakdown. She has been able to work through issues dating back to her childhood through counselling and drama therapy and has gone on to access a range of other services at Derby Women’s Centre. These have included creative workshops and complementary therapies.
From the day I walked through the door, there has always been a warm welcome for me here. It’s a place where myself and other women can be themselves and nobody judges you. There have been a lot of laughs here and I enjoy being able to chat to the other women while we’re busy in the workshops. Derby Women’s Centre has been like a second home to me and has been a real lifeline in helping me to rebuild my life again. I even felt confident enough to get on stage as a model during the fashion show fundraiser in October 2011, which is something that seemed a million miles away when I first came to the Centre.
I feel that my health would suffer if Derby Women’s Centre were to no longer exist. Coming here helps me to cope with a lot of stress in my life. I care for a close family member who has cancer and Alzheimer’s and have some health issues myself but thanks to DWC, I am able to keep this under control. They have helped me to get where I am today and I will always be grateful for their help and support.
Carole has been visiting Derby Women’s Centre for a couple of years. Like many of the women who come to us for support, she was not in a good place when we first met her. Since then, she has been accessing various services and this has enabled her to significantly improve her confidence. She even took part in our 2011 fashion show fundraiser as a model, which shows just how far she has come!
I came to Derby Women’s Centre quite a while ago. I don’t know what I would do or where I would be right now without them. At the moment, I’m going through counselling. It’s nice to come somewhere where you can see people that you can trust and talk to. It’s a pleasure to come here and for me, it’s like a home from home. You come here and just feel safe, and it’s a wonderful experience.
Jane has been coming to us for four years. Through various services and activities, she has been able to address various issues, including some that date back to her childhood. Before she came to DWC, she had been experiencing domestic violence for over 25 years.
During the four years I have been coming to DWC, I have been able to access many activities and services. Each has been helpful in its own way as I’ve been able to gain something positive to address my many and varied issues. DWC has been there for me to make this slow process possible – never judging me and being there. The range of services is amazing, even just landing a patient ear over a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits. I have attended confidence courses, relaxation classes, counselling, a healthy eating course, computer courses, coffee mornings , art and craft courses, the Freedom Programme, and Domestic Violence drop-in sessions. They have also supported me through by referring me to advocacy at Mental Health Services, accompanying me to Job Centre interviews and telephoning debt agencies to arrange repayment schedules (as my ex –husband left me in a financial mess) .
Many of the sessions include guest speakers that are relevant to the particular session. For example, Rape Crisis visited and a lot of women find this invaluable as they are reluctant to enter the Rape Crisis building as they feel ashamed and would feel more humiliated entering so obvious a building. DWC offers them and other women with various issues access to support by being an outwardly inconspicuous building.
If DWC were no longer to exist, I would be devastated. I would retreat back into my shell, become isolated and be back to square one as there is nowhere as unique as DWC for the haven and hope it offers to vulnerable women of all creeds, religions/belief and social backgrounds. To lose their unconditional support would take away the expectation of the achievement of a reasonable quality of life. If I could say one thing to potential donors who could help DWC to survive it would be this: for a flower to begin to survive, grow and bloom it needs water, air and sunshine. A flower is fragile and vulnerable and so are the women that use DWC. To us, DWC is our water, air and sunshine. We can breathe again.
I personally think this place is for anyone. The staff are so good here and they are always around for a chat or for some help. They offer so much support and it’s all helped.
The Centre has changed my life, without a doubt. I’m now very happy and confident and enjoy life a lot more. It has made me a totally different person. The Freedom Programme has been especially helpful because it’s opened my eyes and made me more aware of different types of abuse.
When I first started at the Centre, I didn’t realise all of the services it offered. It has allowed me a safe environment to get help and support, and my two children can also come and play.”The ladies at the Centre have been really helpful.
Sarah received counselling at Derby Women’s Centre, which has enabled her to successfully move on with her life .
Derby Women’s Centre was there when nobody else was. I was referred by another agency and although I’m a transwoman, there was absolutely zero prejudice. The service was safe, friendly, helpful and welcoming in a nuturing and growing environment. It helped me through a time of crisis and filled a gap that no other services were filling. I’m now a trustee for a local charity, which wouldn’t have been possible without Derby Women’s Centre helping me through the initial crisis.
Susan received counselling at Derby Women’s Centre for several months.
I originally approached Derby Women’s Centre as I felt frustrated with the type of help that I had been offered through Derby PTS and I was not in a position to afford private counselling. I visited the DWC website and felt it would be something for me. After asking my GP for advice she said she also thought it would be a good idea.
I have been having counselling now at DWC since February 2013 and I feel relaxed and welcome every time I step foot inside the door. I have been allowed to express my thoughts and feelings in a calm and rational environment and my counsellor is patient and doesn’t make me feel rushed to meet ‘targets’ or pushing me into other forms of therapy that I don’t want. I feel I am allowed to take my time and I have noticed that the sessions have started to give me more confidence and peace of mind. The flexibility and relaxed nature of the counselling sessions makes them more comforting and familiar so they feel more like a ‘chat’ than a ‘task’ or a formal meeting.
“Can highly recommend your courses to anyone. Great place to learn new things, get support and meet new people.”
Rosa has been to Derby Women’s Centre on several occasions to access our services.
Derby Women’s Centre offers support and resources for women which aren’t available anywhere else. Derby needs you!
“Things have worked out really well for me and I haven’t forgotten how much the Phoenix Group helped me in the past.”
I began attending the coffee mornings as I had reached a very low ebb in my mental health and life. I attended a motivational speakers morning and it was incredible! I felt understood and listened to, there was lots of information about how to address how I felt and how to work on it. I was so happy I attended and have continued to attend ever since.
*Some names have been changed to protect identity and to reflect the confidential nature of our support.
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