The 51% - A series of therapeutic writing workshops for women, journeying from menstruation to menopause and everything in between. Coming soon !
Improving Me is delighted to announce a new pilot social prescribing and creative health writing project for women who live in Cheshire and Merseyside with NHS Cheshire and Merseyside women’s health and maternity programme’s writer in residence, Dr Rachel New. Rachel is a broadcaster and radio producer, podcaster and expert in creative writing. This new project will support the delivery of the Cheshire and Merseyside women’s health strategy. It builds on the groundbreaking Holding Time breastfeeding programme; commissioned at the height of the pandemic but constantly evolving; and an Improving Me on-going collaboration with the Writewell Community, the BBC and regional library services to promote and harness women’s voices in order to promote health and wellbeing through digital inclusion. This work also links strongly to the IWD 2024 theme- Inspire Inclusion.
The initial collaboration with Writewell supported an investigation into the use writing to promote wellbeing and its role in supporting recovery. Writewell have developed a range of online activities and resources to make writing for wellbeing enjoyable and accessible. This work underpinned a six month FREE healthcare staff on-line writing course in 2021 and 2022 to improve healthcare staff wellbeing . Developed by the Professional Writing Academy Writewell promotes access to therapeutic writing through regular publications like Ready Steady Flow and a significant online community.
Running alongside this work sits a second collaboration supported by regional libraries and a partnership with BBC Archives to harness broadcast content to promote health literacy and address a digital divide . This work culminated in a new publication with Health Education England’s Knowledge and Library service focused on bibliotherapy to mark international social prescribing day in 2023 -Reading Matters. The publication is about to be revised and extended to address a working well context with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority -Healthy Economy Team.
But back to 51% .Rachel will be concentrating on harnessing a very specific superpower all women have, the ability to talk to each other about their experiences and in so doing create the opportunity to normalise women’ bodies and women’s health issues; which can in turn help break down the taboos and awkwardness which inhibit the very discussion that will ultimately support progress in the women’s health field and respond to the first ever women’s health enquiry for England in 2022 which underlined the importance of creating a voice for all women.
The 51% - is a series of six therapeutic , small group, face to face writing workshops for women, journeying from menstruation to menopause and everything in between. It will launch in April 2024 in partnership with libraries. The workshop programme will be :
- Provide a great deal of peer support
- Involve participants making a commitment to a six - week programme of two hour workshops
- Weekly and they will create a linear expedition that mirrors a woman's journey from periods to menopause and everything in between including pregnancy, infertility and childlessness.
- Facilitated to ensure all participants will be supported to produce written and/or audio content
- Developed to ensure there are a range of additional opportunities to promote awareness of the participants creative outputs through blogs/vlogs, radio content and podcasts
The workshops will cover:
It's a bloody mess!
In the first week we'll explore periods, the pain, the inconvenience, the concerns, the impact, and, well, sometimes the joy! Woman will share and write about their experiences, from heavy bleeding to menopause and everything in between.
Am I the only one?
In this session women will get chance to explore some of the more distressing, embarrassing, life impacting problems they've had with their reproductive cycle, including endometriosis and fertility issues.
Making babies - or not
This week is all about reproduction, women's experiences of getting pregnant, being pregnant, years of trying to get pregnant, and years of trying not to get pregnant. This will be a powerful session and great care will be taken with the women in exploring these topics.
Your body isn't your own
Continuing from last week's session the woman will discuss and write about being pregnant, giving birth and breastfeeding. For some women this will be a huge topic they may want to stay with into the next session. For some women this will be a very difficult place to go and it will be handled with great sensitivity, with a range of extra prompts and tools for women who need them.
When you stop seeing red
This week is all about menopause and perimenopause. The shock of it creeping up on you, the myriad of symptoms, the strange ways in which is throws your life off course, and the light at the end of the tunnel. For women who have not reached this point yet it's a fantastic opportunity for learning and very cathartic for the woman who are in it or past it.
Show and tell
In this session we'll review the work that's been created and women will share the positives and negatives of the discussions and the different writing tools and techniques. The last hour of this session will be for women to share the work they most connected with over the workshops
A public event and broadcast content will follow the workshops.
The creative content produced will mark Health and Creativity Week which will run from 20-26 May 2024 and feed into World Wellbeing Week 20-24 June 2024 which has a focus on health workers and carers. World wellbeing Week provides an opportunity for participants worldwide to celebrate the many aspects of wellbeing, from meaningful, purposeful work to financial security, physical, mental and emotional health, social resilience and empathic corporate and civic leadership, community relations and care for the environment.
Want to know more and get involved?
Please do get in touch with Rachel directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and project updates.
On My Last Eggs the Podcasts Series
Talking matters so get listening and the next step is always easier!
We think you will know why after listening to these accessible and informative FREE podcasts from Improving Me’s writer in residence and broadcaster Dr Rachel New. Rachel is literally on her last eggs, in the wild throws of perimenopause like millions of other women around the world. This podcast series lifts the lid on that whole messy, confusing journey with the help of experts and conversations with menopausal celebrities.
Improving Me is delighted to bring these FREE and illuminating conversations to help women in Cheshire and Merseyside and beyond explore the menopause and increase understanding about both symptoms and potential solutions.
Seventeen glorious podcasts are available here All are highly accessible ranging from 23 minutes to just under an hour. Why not join Rachel’s 84,000 followers and let us know what you think.
Improving Me believes the work we undertake through a social prescribing and creative health workstream will #Inspire Inclusion and support better more tailored healthcare services whilst promoting public health and equity. For International Women's Day 2024 and beyond, Improving Me is committed to Inspire Inclusion because we believe like the IWD team , ‘when we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there's a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. The aim of the IWD 2024 #InspireInclusion campaign is to collectively forge a more inclusive world for women.’
Improving Me social prescribing and creative health lead , Jo Ward.