After raising £3,200 in total (£1,475 via crowdfunder.co.uk/WHFS and a further £1,725 offline) our crowdfunding campaign is now closed, thank you to everyone who donated! Please continue to follow our work at whfs.org.uk (Twitter @WHFS_charity).
Project Aim: Since 1981, WHFS (Women’s Health & Family Services), has helped improve the health and wellbeing of women and children in one of the most deprived areas in Britain. Help us support the next generation of women who need our help.
What we need
WHFS is a small charity doing a big job. The work that the charity does is fundamental to ensuring the health and wellbeing of local communities in Tower Hamlets, London. This includes:
- The FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting) project which has a Peer Supporter group who help women who have been affected by FGM/C or are at risk from the practice in Tower Hamlets.
- Our Cancer Awareness Project trains local volunteers to help patients to improve their understanding and early diagnosis of common cancers and have discussions with medical practitioners.
- Bilingual Family Support project assists families from the Bengali, Somali, Cantonese and Vietnamese-speaking communities who experience difficulty accessing necessary health and welfare information because they do not speak English as a first language.
- The Diabetes Education & Diabetes Befriending projects have a network of volunteers who provide practical and moral support and education for people living with Type 2 Diabetes.
- Maternity Mates are trained volunteers who give emotional and practical support for vulnerable and BME (black, minority and ethnic) women, through pregnancy, child birth and the early weeks of family life
To support our volunteers doing this critical work, a crucial, but unglamorous, requirement is the need to fund core costs - things like office space, photocopiers and computers. For WHFS these running costs are not currently being entirely met and funds are needed to bridge the gap in the short term. If money is not received then the charity will need to look at downsizing its operations - leading to both job losses and the loss of vital services for local communities.
Additionally, recent cuts to government spending mean that projects such as the Bilingual Family Support project are currently unfunded - this could leave local communities and families in Tower Hamlets without the means to access vital healthcare services. Your donations can change both these things and allow WHFS to continue all its vital work and existing projects.
How you can help: donate, motivate and initiate change
1) Make a financial donation
Tower Hamlets' local communities need you! Donate now and as well as doing your bit you can also benefit from one of the great rewards on offer such as a mindfulness or yoga session or public speaking training with our CEO. *There is a list of rewards for each donation amount- please help us make sure you get the reward you want by leaving us a comment/emailing us with your requested award.* If you would prefer to donate by cheque then please contact our staff on 0207 377 8725 and they will be happy to help. Your donation will be added to the website as an "update".
2) Spread the word
The more people who know about the great work of WHFS the better. So please share this page with colleagues, friends and family and invite them to support WHFS too! Use #DonateWHFS to spread the word on social media.
3) Become a friend
Sign up to our WHFS newsletter and get updates on the crowdfunding campaign and news from our local projects. Sign up to the newsletter at the WHFS website whfs.org.uk
Please help us to continue doing what we do best, helping local communities get the help they deserve.
WHFS is a vibrant, successful community health charity based in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived areas in Britain. Since 1981 WHFS has been campaigning and working to educate and promote equal access to healthcare for all local communities.
WHFS uses a unique and proven method of recruiting and training local volunteers to act as advocates to deliver health services and ensure that the unique healthcare needs of all local communities are met. As a predominately female organisation, empowering women volunteers is a central tenet of WHFS’s approach; and is one that is key to its success - being the most effective route for promoting and sustaining family and community health and wellbeing.
Over the past 35 years WHFS has been involved in a range of successful projects, including:
- Maternity Mates This is WHFS’s flagship programme providing Open College Network (OCN) accredited training to local women volunteers in Tower Hamlets and Newham. WHFS’s Maternity Mates provide emotional and practical support for vulnerable and BME (black, minority and ethnic) women, through pregnancy, child birth and the early weeks of family life.
- The FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting) project supports women who had been affected by FGM/C or who were at risk from the practice in Tower Hamlets. WHFS recruited local women from the affected communities to become Peer Supporters to use awareness to stop the practice of FGM/C and to help those affected access appropriate community and health services. On 16 October 2014, WHFS CEO led a powerful and inspiring women-only seminar in the House of Commons. Seed-funding has stopped and now we need money to support these Peer Supporters continue their excellent work.
- Tower Hamlets has one of the highest incidences of cancer and amongst the worse survival rates in the country. Research has shown that key barriers to accessing cancer screening for local communities include: lack of knowledge, fear, embarrassment, language barriers, myths and misinformation about both cancer and cancer screening. Our Cancer Awareness Project trains local volunteers as Peer Supporters to highlight risk factors and symptoms of bowel, breast and lung cancer and works with GP networks, pharmacies and voluntary community organisations to improve understanding and early diagnosis.
- Since 1993 the Bilingual Family Support project has assisted families from the Bengali, Somali, Cantonese and Vietnamese-speaking communities who experience difficulty accessing necessary health and welfare information because they do not speak English as a first language. Those who benefited include pregnant asylum seekers, who, through the project, were able to access the requisite maternity healthcare.
- The Diabetes Education & Diabetes Befriending projects establish a network of volunteers to provide practical and moral support and education for those within their communities living with Type 2 Diabetes.
House of Commons FGM Seminar
What others say
The Cancer Awareness volunteer peer support workers were described by staff at the Bethnal Green Medical Centre as bringing “colour and great energy into the practice. I see them growing in confidence, skills and knowledge. They are a joy to be involved with and a credit to this Borough and this work."
Feedback from both the Bengali and Somali Diabetes education groups suggest an increase in knowledge and understanding of diabetes: "I stopped taking my Gliclazide because I didn’t know what it was for before I came to the session today. I will start it again now and inform my GP that I was not ‘honest’ about my medication. I now understand the importance of being honest about medication to my GP"