Women in Norfolk have their say!
Norfolk Community Foundation publishes Together for Women and Girls
We last ran a programme specifically for women and girls before the pandemic and this primarily focused on projects around employment. We knew that things were likely to have changed since then, so we offered different ways for women and girls to share their views with us.
On International Women’s Day, we launched a survey that over 300 Norfolk women and girls responded to, telling us about their experiences – both positive and negative.
We also launched a focus group fund, allowing us to work with community organisations to drill down into the experiences of Norfolk women in a safe, female-only environment where trust meant that conversations flowed naturally and honestly. Over 100 women participated in this activity. We were delighted by the positive response to our survey and focus group funding and by the richness of the insight that has emerged from this research.
From this information, we produced a 27-page report analysing the survey data and focus group feedback, revealing what is is like for women and girls in Norfolk today. Not only will this report inform our grant funding, but we hope that it also provides a robust base for creating systems change at a countywide level.
Taking action to support women and girls
When communities speak, we listen. We’ve recognised that solutions are best generated by people and organisations that have deep roots in their local area. At Norfolk Community Foundation, we are committed to investing in communities to improve the lives of individuals. Accordingly, we are working to support charities and community groups across Norfolk that support women. Here are just two examples of our recent work that highlight our commitment to improving the lives of women and girls in our county.
Almost 50% of girls in Norfolk have missed at least one day of school, and many adults go without period products because of prioritising other bills, such as food.
We’re proud to announce that we’ve teamed up with Hey Girls to offer free period products across the Nourishing Norfolk network! Hey Girls is an award-winning social enterprise that operates on a buy-one-donate-one model to offer free period products to those who need them. Their mission is not only to eradicate period poverty in the UK, but also to reduce the shame and stigma attached to periods.
Thanks to Hey Girls, the Nourishing Norfolk Network will be able to offer amazing reusable period products like period underwear, reusable pads and menstrual cups alongside traditional disposable products like cotton pads and tampons. Reusables help to cut waste and save the planet, whilst for those without washing facilities, disposable products made from responsibly sourced materials make for hassle-free periods.
One of our key findings from the report was that women wanted activities to do in their communities in a safe and affirming space. These activities had to be cheap or free, in light of the cost of living crisis, and should also be welcoming to children, be drop-in and no-obligation. Through our Community Hot-Spot programme, we have helped several organisations across Norfolk to provide such spaces this winter:
- SoulShine will be running their ‘Marvelous Mums: Warm Again’ group to support vulnerable families who are in need of help and support, both financially and mentally.
- The Daisy Programme will provide a Community Hot-Spot for women isolated following domestic or sexual abuse, giving them the opportunity to build their social connections and support networks as well as giving them the opportunity to engage in creative and restorative activities in a warm environment.
- Methwold Community Action Group will be running a mother and toddler group, as they recognise that being a new parent can be very isolating. They will be offering a place where new parents feel comfortable, can meet others in a similar situation, and have an opportunity for social contact with others.
- Norwich Arts Centre will continue to build on the successful book club model from last year. In recognition that women and older people have been the most isolated during the cost of living crisis, their focus was to ensure they felt the most welcomed. They will be putting women at the centre through the themes of the books and the guests.