Who We Are
Our project began in 2015 when our founder Vittoria De Meo delivered a peer talking group for women migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. The group was called
The Happiness Corner and provided a safe place where women could socialise, receive emotional support and regain hope and self-confidence. From 2017 to 2019 we delivered a total of 80 sessions to over 1000 women.
In March 2019 we became an official community group and renamed ourselves For Women to further highlight that our service is for every woman regardless of age, cultural background, socio-economic status etc. We delivered our weekly peer talking group session at a community centre in West London. Our aim was to provide women a place where they could share their thoughts and feelings freely, learning from and supporting one another. Additionally, we also wanted to promote, sustain and increase individual and collective understanding of mental health and well-being.
In our first year we delivered 26 sessions to more than 50 women.
With our steady and consistent growth, we registered For Women as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in February 2020.
In March 2020 when the U.K was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdowns we knew we had to change and adapt if our aim was to help and support women during such a challenging time.
We decided to move all our services online. We offered The Happiness Corner in the evening and it quickly became popular. We then followed up with Coffee Chat, a weekly day time talking group for women who wanted a more informal catch up. A few months later we set up Exercising Mindfully, a low-impact, online exercise class designed to help women improve their physical well-being and relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. In our first year as a CIC we have been able to facilitate 46 group sessions to a total of 65 women, from a range of backgrounds and ages. We also offered over 50 one-to-one info, advice and guidance sessions.
We are proud to work in partnership with local mental health charities and organisations and to be listed in various health and wellbeing directories.
We continue to provide our services online for now and the foreseeable future, with the aim of tackling isolation and loneliness as well as improving women's sense of well-being and mental health.
For Women is:
In our most recent survey the women who have joined us described us as
Read the testimonials of some of our amazing women to find out what they think about us and the services we offer.
Why For Women?
For Women was born out of a need to support women. Before the COVID-19 pandemic we were able to do this through our face-to-face activities. During the pandemic we realised that our work was more important than ever and we have evolved and adapted to be a valuable lifeline for women during these difficult times.
We are proud of the big impact we've made in such a short amount of time through our online activities. Here are some examples:
COMMUNITY AND FRIENDSHIP
Through our virtual peer talking groups and workshops, we have created a network of friendship and support for women in London and beyond.
IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH
The women who have taken part in our activities have reported a reduction in stress & anxiety levels as well as loneliness & isolation.
Through signposting and partnerships with local mental health charities and organisations, some women have gone onto seeking professional help for their mental health well-being.
Some women have expanded their skills and learned new ones through volunteering and training courses, and reported an increase in self-confidence and life-satisfaction.
Why is our work important right now?
Recent studies have shown us that loneliness and isolation need to be taken seriously.
The ban on meeting people outside your own household has led to a decline in mental well-being, particularly for women.
This is because women are more adversely affected by social isolation during lockdown.
We need to address the impact the pandemic will have on the mental health of women in the UK and offer preventative measures to help them through this difficult time and beyond.
In 2020, a study conducted by the Institute For Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex revealed:
- An increase of 11%-27% of underlying mental health problems for women since the pandemic.
- 34% of women said they "sometimes" felt lonely, 11% of women said they "often" felt lonely.