The Women’s Activity Centre (WAC) provides a culturally sensitive environment, where women can take part in daily activity sessions, socialise with others and find out more about health and wellbeing.
The stepping out project seeks to engage with women, mainly but not exclusively from the Asian community in Halifax, in a regular programme of creative activities including sewing, embroidery, dressmaking, Islamic art and reading groups, combined with dance groups and social fitness sessions.
The centre also offers women health checks and hosts awareness days, inviting speakers from local charities and NHS services to make presentations and answer questions.
Up to 60 women attend the sessions every week and the centre has plans to develop the programme it currently provides with the introduction of drop-in sessions with a counsellor and a pharmacist advice session.
Sajeed Mahmood, operations director at the centre explains, “The focus of our centre and the activities we run is to boost local women’s health and wellbeing, by educating them about health issues, informing them about where they can go for help and also building their confidence in being able to look after their own and their families health. We want to help women make informed choices about accessing healthcare, including highlighting the services they can get from their local pharmacist, GP and hospital.
“We also want to motivate women by giving them the opportunity to learn new skills and build networks with those they meet at the centre. Our centre is by no means exclusively open to South Asian women, and by offering our services to the wider community such as during open days, we are also working to improve community cohesion and cross-cultural learning.”