Some important inforation. We have moved again! The Red Road flats were recently emptied for demolition. We have now moved to the Community Centre in Kinning Park Complex. Full instructions on how to get to the complex are given here . The Kinning Park Complex is not far from Kinning Park Underground Station, there are also a number of buses that run regularly on Paisley Road and can drop you off close to our location on Cornwall Street.
Our drop-in sessions are now every Monday from 12 to 5.
The Kinning Park Complex is situated in what used to be an infant’s school in the early 1900s. Nowadays it serves as a community center and offers a wide range of activities, including dance classes, movie screenings, arts classes and others.
Updates on some of our activities from the last few months:
On the 21st of September Lush invited us for a Pamper Night at their shop on Sauchiehall street after close and provided wonderful hand-made cosmetics for all. We had such a great fun and enjoyed all of the planned activities. The kids got their hands dirty making bath bombs and the women received a fantastic hand massage. We also got treated with tea and cakes. Many thanks to the wonderful staff of Lush for the great party atmosphere and the presents, and of course for providing generous funding to the Women’s Project!
Photos will follow soon from our day trip to Largs, the beautiful seaside resort to the south of Glasgow.
On the 4th of November our new volunteers received training in conjunction with other organizations.
We had a wonderful Christmas Party (pictures will be posted soon).
Our day trip to Largs went really well – 14 women and their children enjoying a day at the seaside is a lovely sight to behold. Even the best efforts of the Scottish weather did not dampen the day.
In other and very important news – we have made the big move! We are now based in the Red Road flats.
Built in the 1960s these flats were seen as a solution to the housing crisis of that time – with many people living in slums where overcrowding was commonplace. However the new flats were not without their own problems and by the 1970s the high rises were known for anti-social behaviour and crime.
In the late nineties the then labour government made changes to immigration and asylum policy which lead to Scotland receiving a large number of asylum seekers – with many housed in the red road flats. In recent times this has lead to a varied mix of native Scots, black and minority ethic groups and migrant workers from eastern Europe inhabiting the flats. Over the last few years regeneration has started in the area which has led to buildings being marked for demolition.
As part of the regeneration process two of the flats have been worked into a wonderful community studio – of which we are very grateful to have been given use of. The address is 10 Red Road Court Flat 23/3 (buzzer 223) – a map can be seen HERE. We meet on Mondays (note change of date from Thursday) from 10am -5pm.
Photos of our new abode can be found HERE. We are easily reachable by bus – services 9, 12 and 56 go from city centre.
As part of our move we have also compiled a wish list of things that we need – if you have any of these going spare and would like to donate please contact us unitywomensproject[@]gmail.com. We have very little in the way of funding so all donations will be gratefully received.
big notice board
writing pens (biros)
staples and stapler
2 draw filling cabinet
Hello there! Our drop in sessions have been very busy these last few weeks – it is the summer holidays so the women we support have been bringing their children. It is really nice to see the weans having a good time and acting like children should – regardless of what they have come through.
We recently had a volunteer meeting where we discussed important issues such as our outreach and advocacy work, training and funding. In regards to funding – we have decided to make a standing order form available for those who want to donate money to our cause.
We have set up a bank account to allow us to raise funds. The standing order form can be found HERE as a .doc file. The form is to be sent to your bank who will set it up. It can be cancelled by you at any time. Suggested donation £5 a month but we welcome as much (or as little) as you can afford.
All money raised will go straight to supporting our women and their children as they make their way through the asylum process. Most recently our funds have been spent on accompanying the women we support to court in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is important that we are there to give support as the process can be intimidating – also it means that we can look after children in the waiting room whilst their mother is in at court. We also pay the train fare for those going to Edinburgh and provide them with a packed lunch.
We are still working on moving our operation to Springburn – got a few tasks to complete before we are able to. Really excited about the move as it will increase the amount of people who we can support.
In other news an article about ourselves was featured in a newsletter from the charity Asylum Aid. This is a highly respected independent charity who provide free and accessible legal representation of the highest professional standard for vulnerable asylum seekers. As well as this they are active in campaigning for an asylum process where asylum seekers are granted their full human rights. They have been active since 1990. You can read the article HERE.
Bechaela, one of our volunteers, has done a lovely article about the garden project – which can be read HERE.
We’ve been getting our hands dirty!
Recently we have been given access to an allotment in Hamiltonhill Community Allotments community gardens in the northwest of the city. So far we have planted carrots, courgettes, spinach, rocket beans, peas, cauliflower, various herbs and sunflowers in our raised bed. Phew.
We take women and children to the allotments regularly to do some gardening and make delicious soup in the allotments’s convenient communal kitchen. It is great that everyone involved in the project has a chance to spend some time outdoors this summer. It is a beautiful, peaceful and tranquil place and is adjacent to an amazing urban wilderness site known as the Clay-pit – an abandoned quarry. This particular feature is shaped like a boot and attracts a variety of wildlife.
Many of the women and children who we support live in deprived areas of Glasgow with no access to safe green-spaces, so the allotment provides them with a place to relax and be closer to nature. Also the children love it as they can run around, learn about nature and vegetable growing and (most importantly) getting their clothes filthy. Access to so called “green-spaces” is relaxing and helps soothe stress.
Friends of Possilpark Green-space are a charity who formed out of concern for raising the standard of the local environment. They wanted a safe space where children and people of all ages could enjoy themselves. They do conservation and landscaping on areas of green-space within the community. We are delighted to be able to enjoy the fruits of their hard work in the local area.
Are you involved in working with female refugees and/or asylum seekers and their children in Glasgow?
We offer a friendly and supportive informal service in the west end of the city – we also offer accompaniment to legal appointments and help women navigate the labyrinth of services that are available to them.
If you would like to make service users aware of us then we have an easy to read and print poster available as a .PDF file here.
Spread the word!
Our volunteers at the project have a training day coming up – in supporting traumatised asylum seeking women. The event is being organised by CSEL (Centre For The Study Of Emotion & Law) a fantastic charity based in London whose aim is to provide high quality applied research to inform legal decision making regarding people who have been oppressed – ensuring equal justice for all.
The training day has proved to be really popular and is fully booked – this is great news for us as it means we can learn, discuss and network along with other agencies in the field. It is important for us to know what other services are available to the women we support so that we can refer them on and, likewise, from them to ourselves. Many of the ladies we support have gone through what can only be described as hell. We are constantly amazed and inspired by how strong they are and through this we are determined that they are aware of and have access to all the services that are available to them.
One aspect of the training day that we are really looking forward to is the lunch prepared by the women from Karibu. This unique charity was set up in 2004 by a lady called Henriette Koubakouenda to address a gap in available services – support for African women by African women. The name “Karibu” means welcome in Swahili and since 2004 they have grown from meeting in a living room to having their own premises in the city centre.
Now at over a hundred members strong they work to promote the confidence, skills and integration of African women into local communities. We are hoping that from our training that we will use our new knowledge of psychological research that has been done on asylum seeking women to broaden our understanding of what they have come through and to improve our services.