Community collaborations form the Coffs Harbour Women’s Shed project

The Welcome to Country from Gumbaynggirr Elder Aunty Jenny Skinner at the Women’s Shed forum. Photo: Leah Johnson

COLLABORATION between women and those who work with women across the Coffs community is driving the firm founding of the proposed Coffs Harbour Women’s Shed (CHWS) project.

In its first formal gathering, on Wednesday 11 May, the CHWS committee held a community forum at the Cavanbah Centre in Coffs Harbour, to share and discuss their plans, ideas, and challenges in building a Women’s Shed for Coffs Harbour.

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The forum was aimed specifically at women who work with and provide support to women.

The purpose?

To develop relationships, make connections, and collect ideas and feedback on the project.

The forum commenced with a warm Welcome to Country from Gumbaynggirr Elder Aunty Jenny Skinner.

Blessings and messages of support were also sent from Gumbaynggirr Elder Aunty Bea Ballangarry, who was not able to be there.

The forum had over 80 attendees who all responded positively to the project plans, agreeing that the proposed Women’s Shed would go a long way towards reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness currently being experienced by women of all ages and backgrounds.

The community also agreed that women will easily make connections, develop relationships and support each other while building basic life skills, such as home, car and bicycle maintenance, cooking, nutrition, health and well-being, dance, arts and crafts.

“This project will empower women, increase confidence, provide a safe space for healing, problem solving and provide pathways to education or job opportunities,” Women’s Shed spokesperson Alex Miller told News Of The Area.

The audience joined in on a robust discussion with a panel consisting of members of the Women’s Shed committee and guest speakers.

Invited to speak were Rhiannon Mitchell, the founder of Saltwater Sistas, Independent candidate for Cowper Caz Heise, and Billy Hill from the Mankind Project.

The forum was attended by Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan, and briefly by Coffs Harbour Mayor Paul Amos.

“Momentum is building: we are asking that anyone interested in this innovative model complete our survey and subscribe to our newsletter at www.coffswomensshed.org or find us on Facebook @CoffsWomensShed,” said Alex.

Stay tuned for more news and save 23 and 24 July for a weekend of workshop activities led by local women.

By Andrea FERRARI

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