On Thursday the 26th of November, Women’s Health and Wellbeing Services was very proud and excited to launch the new arm of the organisation.
We would like to thank the special guests Dr Tony Buti MLA member for Armadale, Chris Tallentire MLA member for Thornlie, Terry Healey MLA member for Southern River, and City of Gosnells Mayor David Good, for attending as well as thanking the 60+ stake holders, clients and community members who came out to celebrate the launch.
Chairperson Kim Adey officially welcomed everyone to the event.
WHWS board member Leanne Pilkington shared her language and culture in an acknowledgment of country.
Then it was over to our CEO Emma Basc to make the most of the opportunity to celebrate the organisation. At WHWS we start every event by acknowledging not only the traditional owners of the land but also by taking a moment to acknowledge the courageous and fearless women who have walked before us (and those who have felt the fear and did it anyway).
Gosnells Women’s Health Service is about to move into our 27th year of operation and we stood at the launch with banners of Women’s Health and Wellbeing Services, Hidden World of Women, Hidden World of You and early next year we will be adding Elevate Well-being to the list as well.
The growth and expansion in our service provision comes off the back of the work of some amazing women, going all the way back to the days of the suffragettes and then obviously more recent times with the women who came together in 1991 who saw a need for the organisation, those involved in it opening in 1994 and all of the women who have had impact and influence on our organisation our sector and our community.
While we have grown significantly in the last 27 years we are still a very small community based organisation. Our core values have not changed and we are here to support vulnerable and disadvantaged women in our community the majority of whom reside in City of Armadale and City of Gosnells with the other 10% traveling from as far as Jinalee, Bunbury and Albany and everywhere in between to access services.
One of the great things about being a small organisation is that we are able to be flexible and adaptive and we are able to meet the needs of the community quickly and effectively without the hindrance of the red tape that can come with bigger organisations.
One of the downsides of being a small organisation is that we all work around here. We are so busy doing the job and meeting the needs that we don’t have the time (and lets be honest – the money) to stop and tell people about the services that we provide or to celebrate the successes.
The Hidden World of Women
The launch of The Hidden World of You gave us a moment to share what we are doing in the community and in the arena of women’s health and to take a moment to celebrate the achievements. We made the most of the event by adding a brief over view of The Hidden World of Women Podcast.
The host of The Hidden World of Women Podcast, Melanie spoke about the intention of the podcast. To share women’s stories, to reduce shame, to have shared experiences and to normalise. So much of women’s lives and so many of our experiences are hushed up, not spoken about and hidden. The Hidden World of Women is focused on bringing awareness to the experiences of women. There is no shame, no secrecy. Just women talking openly about their and our experiences. We want to let women know that you aren’t alone, we want to bring awareness and shine a beacon of hope for women.
Where did Hidden World of You begin?
While we aimed to celebrate the new platform Hidden World of You, it is worth acknowledging that this year has seen more layers and levels of difficulty than the world has seen before.
While Western Australia was not impacted by Covid-19 in the same way as other parts of the world or places in Australia, Covid-19 still had significant impact on our community.
There is a saying, when it rains look for the rainbows. There was a lot of rain and with it came a number of rainbows.
As I mentioned, we are a small non-profit organisation and we are open to change and adapting to meet the needs of our community but we are aware that there are a number of barriers to accessing our services. Quite a few of our clients work multiple jobs, have children, have very little in the way of support for child care etc and so attending in-person services can be difficult due to time, location, babysitting, cost etc.
We were aware of the difficulties and in an effort to reduce them we began offering Thursday evening extended hours. It helped but did not overcome the barriers.
Then came Covid-19 and over night we learned that people did not need to attend our service in person to benefit from our offerings. Health promotion groups that had previously been held in Gosnells and were limited to 10 attendees were now run through Facebook live sessions and later put onto YouTube, if someone wanted to watch live and interact in person they could or they could watch it at their convenience later. From reaching 10 people in person to 50-100 (and even up to 5000 for one session) online overnight.
We took the opportunity to reexamine the way we work.
At this time a grant became available with the WA Labour Party and Lottery West for Covid support. We were lucky enough to receive $60,736 through this grant and we put the money to good use recording courses to be able to add to our online offerings.
To give you some background into The Hidden World of You:
The idea of recording online groups and classes that we could offer for our community and clients meant that barriers to attendance could be reduced we looked to find a way that we could build on this.
The grant allowed us to purchase the equipment and staff time to record the courses. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to use this as the base for an online mental and emotional health platform.
The idea of Hidden World of You was born.
Hidden World of You was designed to be the Netflix of mental and emotional health and well-being. There is an expanding library of videos, workshops and workbooks within the 4 main areas of mental and emotional wellbeing, Lifestyle and motivation, Sex and Relationships and Parenting. The idea being there is no magic pill to finding out who you are or who you want to be and how you go about taking the steps to start making positive change in your life.
This subscription platform gave us an opportunity to be able to find ways to support people in a new way. Not only does it remove barriers meaning we can support a broader range of people (not limited by location, time or even gender), we are charging a small fee for access which will allow us to continue creating courses.
We have also created an affiliate program. This means that we can partner with other community groups to provide a fundraising opportunity for their organisations helping them to support their community needs through receiving 30% of the memberships they generate for the lifetime of that membership (if you would like more information about this contact WHWS). 100% of the profits (after course creation and supporting other community groups) goes straight back to WHWS to allow us to increase our service provision of services to people in our community.
We obviously think that the services that we offer are valuable for our clients. I can tell you all about the changes that our clients are able to make as a result of accessing the services but instead I would like to invite Natasha who has been a client of WHWS to speak of her experience.
During the launch we heard from a previous client Natasha who spoke of how WHWS had helped her change her life and offered a safe place when she needed it most. From an injured little bird 18 months ago to soaring in flight now. It was an emotional speech and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room!
Thank you so much Natasha for sharing your story with all the attendees.
Hidden World of You will give us another way to support people who can not over come the barriers to in person service provision. It will also give us an opportunity to support other community groups to meet their needs and it will give us a way to generate income to bridge the gap between the level of funding we receive and the level of service required, this will enable us to offer more in person services to support vulnerable members of the community.
Most importantly for the people accessing Hidden World of You it will give them an opportunity to make real and lasting change.
Thank to you Mr Chris Tallentire MLA member for Thornlie for officially launching the platform.