Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A-AWO #womensupportwomen

Left to Right: Sarah-Jane Hill (fundraiser at AWO), Mandy Welland-Taylor and Karen Walker (from Truly Madly Heavenly), Ann Stonehouse (Chair of Assist Networking)
On the 10th October 2012, Assist Networking and AWO combined for a common force for an evening of ladies networking; women supporting women!

The aim of the evening was to spend time together meeting one another over tea, coffee and snacks, exploring the A WAY OUT building, the Gate, and exploring ideas of how women in Teesside can support our work here at A WAY OUT and support eachother.

The wonderful Mandy and Karen of Truly Madly Heavenly ran the evening, with support from our fundraising team. Their fantastic ideas led to a creative mood board session, where each woman had the chance to make a colourful display of ideas. The mood boards were made from magazine clippings, buttons, glittery glue and more, and everyone then presented their mood board on how to support A WAY OUT back to the group for feedback and development of ideas.

The vibe of the evening session was fantastic, the creativity of each person that joined was so encouraging and inspiring. We discussed ideas on how to support women, run events to fundraise for A WAY OUT, run workshop sessions, boost confidence and even more.

One of the ideas that came from the session is the Christmas Afternoon Tea on the 4th December, details of which can be found if you follow this link: Festive Afternoon Tea.

We are so excited for this group of women, committed to doing what they can to support other women. 
If you would like to join A-AWO, fundraise for us, input your creative ideas, run a workshop, or anything else you think of, we would love to hear from you! email Sarah-Jane with ideas and your details, and have a look around our website to see if you can get involved.

We're always looking for volunteers and supporters. Without the work of volunteers, our work here just could not continue. We are so grateful to each and every one of you!

We are really looking forward to the next A-AWO meeting, and seeing how these ideas develop!

Love from A Way Out x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Singing From the Heart

Song writing doesn't come naturally to most of us, but to some of the women from our womens drop-in project, it seems to be a gift!

It has also led them to an exciting few weeks; being on the radio, meeting one of the biggest boy bands from the UK (!), and growing in creativity.

Music helps us to express our emotions. Gifted songwriters often battle through difficult topics and heartbreaking lyrics and effectively get a message across. Liam, one of our community workers here and a talented songwriter and musician himself worked with the Recovery project, a part of our Heart2Change program to encourage creativity in songwriting. He's written a few words about the journey these women have been on...

"In August I started to get involved in the women’s group ran by Iona, and I was asked to do a song writing day with the girls. At first it seemed like it was going to be a struggle for the girls to have confidence in being involved, but within a few minutes we started to put a song together! The song writing only went on for half an hour but at the end the half an hour we had a full song written by the girls. The song was about how they were feeling before they found someone and somewhere they could go to and expressed their true feelings in this song. After this we started to get very excited that the girls had come up with something so amazing and decided we would try our best to get this recorded as the girls said nothing they do goes anywhere.
  After speaking to another charity who have a recording studio and vocal coaches, we decided that we could work with them to make this possible Over the weeks that followed, we had a vocal coach come over to help the girls with the song and this came from the recording studio. The girls started to get excited as we put a date in for recording. 
  This then led to the girls meeting JLS! (YES, they got to meet JLS!)

JLS meeting the girls

Performing the Song to JLS
Marvin gets acquainted with the AWO family!

They performed their song to JLS, giving them background on why they made this song. They then got to meet them in VIP at TFM Radio where JLS were about to go on the Radio. Marvin from JLS asked Jessie our CEO if she could give him the finished copy when the girls finish recording, praising the song and getting pictures with the girls and signing merchandise.

A Way Out meet JLS
This was a big boost to the girls confidence and made them really happy, this means so much to these girls as it is a step forward in their lives and something that they have never had the opportunity to do. After JLS left, the radio station asked us to do an interview and perform the song live on the radio as part of the story of how the girls and us got to meet JLS and what the story behind the girls lives and the song was about."

Performing the song to TFM radio
Big thanks to JLS and TFM radio who were both so encouraging and supportive when we met them, very welcoming and helpful. Thank you!

We'll leave you with a few lines from their amazing song; 'Everyday Things':

"I was feeling trapped, I didn't care about nowt
Then all of a sudden I found A Way Out
Out in the cold a whisper became a shout
I never looked back or gave a second doubt

I changed my life
It helped me see the person I could really be
This is me
Who could you be?"

Love from A Way Out x

Many thanks to Anthony Preece for the images in this blog post.

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