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Scottish Women's Aid Conference: Women Supporting Women

9 Nov 2018 Article Image

Scottish Women’s Aid is the umbrella organisation for the network of independent Woman’s Aid groups across Scotland and, each year, their Annual Members’ Conference provides an opportunity for representatives from these groups to come together for the day, to talk, to listen and to learn. The event is always thought-provoking and informative, with lots of opportunities to share experiences, ideas and challenges and to look to the future of our network. 

This year, five of us from Grampian Women’s Aid headed off to Edinburgh to attend the event.  The early start was soon forgotten as we chatted about what the day would have in store.  We were expecting an enjoyable, interesting and fun day and we were not to be disappointed.

The theme for this year’s event was “Women Supporting Women” and indeed, from the moment we arrived to a welcome cup of coffee, till we rushed off late in the afternoon to catch the train home, women were supporting and inspiring women.

Scottish Women’s Aid CEO, Dr Marsha Scott, set the tone for the day as she opened the floor to the morning presenters.

First off, Kirsty of Fife Women’s Aid told of their very successful Befriending Service.  A service where volunteers, often themselves survivors, support and mentor on a one-to-one basis, women experiencing domestic abuse.

Immediately afterwards, Debbie and Madeleine of Orkney Women’s Aid, along with two of the children they support, talked about the inspirational work they do with children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. The children have written a book and filmed a powerful video about their experiences to help and support other young people who are living in an environment of domestic abuse.

Finishing the presentations, Ghazala talked about her work at Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid.  Hemat Gryffe support Asian, Black and Minority Ethnic women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse in Glasgow and surrounding areas. Their name translates into English as “River of Courage” and a very courageous woman talked to us openly and passionately of the vital support she had received from the women of Hemat Gryffe.

A break for lunch provided an important opportunity for networking and time to enjoy the exhibitions on display.  Lochaber, Caithness & Sutherland and West Lothian Women’s Aids displays showcased the importance of working together with our women, children and young people on projects and developments. From “The Tree of Hope” to “Our Inspirational Women”, the messages were indeed inspiring.

In the afternoon workshops on well-being and self-care strategies and supporting women working in Women’s Aid organisations reminded us of the importance of looking after ourselves and each other.

Then, before we knew it, we were listening to closing remarks from Scottish Women’s Aid’s Ash and heading off to catch our train home, to relax and reflect on our day. An informative, enjoyable, entertaining and inspiring day leaving us with much to think about. A day of women supporting women.