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Event celebrates West Leeds women – and connects local groups

Words: Jo Fiddes

Photos: Philip McConnell

To mark the end of Women’s History Month, Bramley resident Vickie Jamieson and a small team of volunteers organised an event at Bramley Community Centre – “Celebrating West Leeds Women.”

This was a coming together of several local groups and individuals, to highlight how women in our area support themselves and others.

Its key aim was to showcase what these groups do to a wider audience, to provide an opportunity for networking and to create new, supportive relationships. 

The event saw representation from many organisations, taking the form of a “marketplace” where attendees could find out more about how these groups make a positive contribution to our community. There were opportunities to sign up and get involved, and there were even some free crafting goodies on offer.  

Click on the slideshow below for images from the day:

Contributing attendees included:

  • Hookers and Clickers – a community of like-minded people who aim to make the world a little bit better by knitting and crocheting for charities and people in need. A very local example of “craftivism” in action. 
  • Bramley Mermaids – a fun, synchronised swimming-based water dance group open to all abilities and based at Bramley Baths. They are always looking for new members to join with their fun and healthy sessions in a supportive, sisterly environment.  
  • Bosom Buddies – a peer support group that work alongside breastfeeding mums.
  • Bramley Breezers (open to all abilities) and Bramley Junior Parkrun (free timed weekly running events for 4-14 year olds) – both organisations help to promote physical and mental well-being through running. 
  • Zero Waste Leeds, who run a range of inventive projects to support their aim to make Leeds a zero waste city by 2030.
  • SHE-Nanegans – an Armley-based activity group for women who live and work locally.
  • Bramley Care Bears – a long-established volunteer group who organise foodbanks, garden makeovers and homework clubs for the local community. 
  • Also in attendance were representatives of Leeds West Labour Party who ran the book stall and organised a fund-raising raffle. 
  • BARCA, a community-based charity that delivers transformational projects for children, young people and families in Leeds kindly sponsored the cake stall 

The brains behind the event, Vickie Jamieson, said:

“I was thrilled to see so many like-minded and inspiring women in one place; women who contribute so much to our local community.

“It was a great opportunity to talk, share ideas, make new and useful contacts, contribute to other projects and develop new and exciting relationships. I have no doubt that this event will have sown seeds of friendship and collaboration that will grow into great women-led projects of the future.”

By the end of the event, individual attendees will have come away with so much more knowledge about the groups that run and the range of services on offer in West Leeds – and maybe even be inspired to give a few new things a go.

In terms of the contributors, new and useful connections have certainly been made.

Practical examples include Zero Waste Leeds linking with Junior Park Run to talk about the “Together for Sports” initiative to re-use children’s sports kits, Hookers and Clickers linked up with Bosom Buddies to knit them some new “demonstration boobies” and Bramley Care Bears collected leaflets from everyone to include in the food grab bags they distribute.

She-Nanegans also linked with a representative of Bramley Community Clothing Exchange to borrow clothing rails for a jumble sale they are holding, and Bramley Mermaids were able to connect with a representative from the A Place to Sit campaign group to discuss a forthcoming community walk.

All this and £175 was raised for UN-WOMEN, which aims to protect and empower women and girls in Ukraine and neighbouring countries following the Russian invasion.

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