Think one Stop Shop...
I regularly have to describe what Lancashire Women's Centres does.
My answer will depend - on who is asking the question, on how interested they seem and what opportunities might unfold based on my answer. I'm pretty slick at it now- after all it's my job to represent the organisation.
Generally the short answer is 'we are a network of 'One Stop Shop' Women's services.'
But what does that mean? What are women 'buying' in our shop? Do staff and volunteers feel they are in a supermarket of support options, selling whichever is on promotion that week? The danger is that sometimes they might.
Along with the rest of the charity sector- and much of the public sector too- we are trying to deliver more for less, stretch ourselves further and work with women for whom life seems to become increasingly challenging. The range of projects that we deliver varies by location, by need and by funder in a way that in the back rooms of LWC looks like a giant spiders web of logistics, data and reporting. Trying to keep on top of this often keeps us awake at night.
But whilst we are paddling very fast below the surface, we are clear about what we want to offer and what we want to be.
We want to bring services to the woman, not signpost or send her elsewhere.
We want women to be able to access support without stigma or fear of judgement.
We are interested in where a woman is going, not where she has been.
We don't always get it right, our own lives are complex and sometimes get in the way of us being fully present and available for others.
But most of all we believe #everywomancounts. When women come together, amazing things become everyday.