19 June 2024

Wagga Women's Health reaches out to build resilience across the Riverina

| Chris Roe
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The team from the Wagga Women's Health Centre hosted a self-care workshop.

The team from the Wagga Women’s Health Centre hosted a self-care workshop. Photo: Supplied.

The Wagga Women’s Health Centre is in the process of reaching out to communities across the Riverina to connect with women and to understand how they can provide support.

Outreach program manager Penny Stanbury said they had visited 12 communities to help to build resilience in women affected by floods and droughts through workshops and services such as counselling and networking.

“We’re heading all around from towns like Finley and West Wyalong to Gundagai, Leeton and Temora, and initially we’re doing community consultation to ask the women in these areas what they want, and we also explain to them what our centre does,” Penny said.

“A lot of these women are living in regional and remote towns and they’re already feeling isolated and then on top of that, if you’re at home with children, that can also be isolating.

“The more that women are talking about how they feel and listening and connecting with each other’s similar stories – the power of that connection can never be underestimated.”

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This week the team has been in Gundagai and Temora and Penny explained they are working to deliver programs based on the feedback they have collected.

“For example, we had some mums that are just really run-down at the moment and they said, ‘We’d love an excuse to just sit down for 10 minutes without our kids’, and we’re doing some self-care workshops,” she said.

“We’ve had other locations that have asked for things like some will writing support, so we partner with Legal Aid to bring out a workshop for them.

“So it’s really up to the community to tell us what they need.”

Wagga Women's Health Centre is one of 19 clinics set to receive funding from the NSW Governement.

Wagga Women’s Health Centre is staging outreach events at 12 locations across the Riverina. Photo: Wagga Women’s Health Centre Inc. Facebook.

The Wagga Women’s Health Centre is an independent not-for-profit organisation that began in the late 1970s and has continued to evolve and provide a safe, supportive environment for women in the city and across the region.

“What we’re doing now is just starting to build trust in those communities that we’re not there for a donation, we’re not there to take anything, we’re there to offer our support,” Penny said.

“It’s about getting people to engage with us when they see us and to know they’ll actually be listened to.”

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The Wagga Women’s Health Centre provides a broad spectrum of support services for females over 16, including counselling and advice on housing, reproductive health and financial and legal issues.

With the outreach program focused on building resilience, Penny said that getting women talking was an important starting point.

“I think the building resilience in these women just involves reconnecting with each other and with themselves and what they need and what will make them happy,” she said.

“It’s also about building trust back with each other and talking to other services they might need.

“We can also connect women to our services and they can talk with our counsellors in person or through telehealth and there’s no cost, which is such a great benefit.”

You can learn more about the Wagga Women’s Health Centre and its outreach to the broader Riverina here.

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