WHFS Celebrates at our Annual Event
On 15th October 2015, the WHFS (Women’s Health & Family Services) Annual General Meeting celebrated the achievements of their outstanding team of staff, volunteers and partners during 2014-15.
The biggest project continues to be Maternity Mates. Their contribution can be simply summed up as follows: “Continually training local women as Maternity Mates to support vulnerable mums -
174 mums and 73 volunteers so far and counting". Maternity Mates volunteers support
pregnant women who are in need of extra support because of disability, mental health issues, isolation and other vulnerabilities. We have extended the service this year with new funding from NHS Newham CCG, with our first intake of volunteers completing their accredited training with the Open College Network in June 2015.
We also heard about the Cancer Awareness project reaching those who would otherwise shy away from talking about cancer and their bodies. For example, breast cancer awareness in Bangladeshi women who are not comfortable talking about intimate body parts. The Diabetes Patients Network, through its befriending scheme and weekly health and wellbeing club has supported people self-manage their condition. A new project - Managing My Health - is limited to 9 weeks only, but WHFS volunteers have been coming up with ways of increasing involvement through activities such as setting up local walking groups.
The Happy Healthy Hearts (HHH) project is key, as we are looking at a community where the rate of coronary heart disease is twice the national average. The goal of the project is to change lifestyle practices and WHFS has been working with the British Heart Foundation to train local HHH Champions.
FGM /C Community Champions continue to work with women affected by FGM /C (female genital mutilation/cutting) and they provided us with an update of their work. We had an inspiring contribution from our Patron, Dr Geetha Subramanian MBE, who praised the WHFS Chief Executive, Sharon Hanooman, “Without her drive none of this would have been possible.” Dr Subramanian spoke of her own personal passion for relieving the silent suffering of women who have been affected by FGM /C. She set up a clinical service for assessment, and before her retirement in 2014, conducted the ‘opening up’ operation at Mile End Hospital and will continue to mentor and support others working on this issue in Tower Hamlets.
WHFS were pleased with the first donation at the AGM to the Crowdfunder fundraising initiative by Zainab Yasin from Redbridge, who raised funds by doing a sky jump and presented to the WHFS Treasurer, Cat Tully, cheques totalling £1,250. Fantastic!!!
15th October 2015
(L-R): WHFS Trustees: Dr Pam Schickler and Gemma Bruce / members of the Cancer Awareness team / WHFS Patron, Dr Geetha Subramanian MBE and fundraiser, Zainab Yasin