Meet the Team – Jo Thorpe

My name is Jo Thorpe I began working as the Representation and Policy officer mid-June. As some of you may know I am not new to the Women’s Centre. I have been volunteering with the Welfare Rights worker since January 2017, prior to volunteering I visited the centre many times over the years. I am really excited to finally be working here.

My background is in Youth and Community work. I have a Diploma in Youth and Community Work and a MA in community Education.  My previous roles both paid and voluntary have been many and varied. I am looking forward to developing and taking forward the Policy and Representation work undertaken previously. My role is part of an exciting project called Help through Crisis which is aimed at making a positive impact on women’s lives through delivering welfare rights advice and working in partnership with other organisations. My role is to collect data about the needs and problems that women are facing and to use this to push for changes that will improve women’s lives.

I can frequently be found at my desk reading various reports, policy documents and generally getting my head around the range of information required for the role.

When I am not at work I enjoy my allotment (which is always work in progress), cooking, reading and visiting charity shops.


AGM 2018 – Presentations

The presentations at this year’s AGM are*:

Julia Carter and NWC volunteering services – Julia, NWC Volunteer Coordinator since October 2017 will talk about our most recent achievement – The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service received this month by NWC Volunteers.

Diana Ali and the NWC mural project – Diana Ali, the Nottingham based Artist and Curator has been busy working with Nottingham Women’s Centre on our latest art project. Diana says:  “It has been a great and insightful opportunity to work at the Women’s Centre and especially with women who were willing, positive and engaged to create a huge piece of artwork in such a short time. Terry-Ann, Karem, Kate, Janet and Chloe came in, shared ideas, collaborated and got down to create work which I did not imagine we could do. It was so warming to see communication, voices coming through and support from each other which resulted in them being artists to make a contemporary vibrant mural. The mural is theirs and others voices in how we progress and we hope we have captured an essence of celebration, energy, movement and ambition of women of everywhere.” We will be unveiling the mural on 26th June at our AGM taking place at City Arts. To learn more about Diana please visit her website – www.dianaali.com

Lyndsey Harris, UoN – Empowerment through research – Lyndsey Harris and Pauline Jas are both researchers at The University of Nottingham who have been asked to evaluate the services that are offered to women at Nottingham Women’s Centre. In an effort to demystify research, and use feminist informed practice, Lyndsey and Pauline will be working with women to empower them to engage in a number of research activities. The first of these events will be a 4 week ‘Memory Work’ Club. During this talk Lyndsey will explain what memory work is and how Pauline and Lyndsey would like to work with women in partnership to develop research skills and have fun along the way.

Joanne Ratcliffe, NWC Quality and Partnerships Co-ordinator – Introducing NWC Partners – Joanne will talk about the Communities of Identity project and why collaboration is key and the impact that we make together followed by presentations from NWC Partners:

  • Base51 – speaking about the Outburst group. Base51 Support young people (12-25 years) across Nottingham. Their OUTBURST group for LGBT+ young people is a safe, comfortable and supportive environment with a varied programme of activities that are age appropriate and include: Self Harm, Hate Crime, self expression through arts, sexual health and many more. The Group and the Organisation ensures the views of the young people are considered at all levels.
  • KAIROS – Kairos supports lesbian and bi sexual women seeking asylum and those with refugee status to gain secure their immigration status and take up opportunities to live, work, study and socialise in Nottingham.  We are very well supported by the Womens Centre who provide us with meeting rooms and advice and practical help. Before our members can successfully establish confident lives in this country, many of them must address complex mental and physical health problems acquired as a result of torture and abuse in their home country and in some cases since arrival in the UK. There are language problems to overcome, 2 in 10 women speak v little English, more cannot read and write well in English and they all experience very low self-esteem and fear of discovery and exposure. As asylum seekers, Kairos members understand very little of the welfare and legal systems of the UK and do not know how to meet other LGBT people safely. Currently we have monthly meetings where members share their stories and update one another on their progress with asylum, housing, education employment etc. Volunteers follow this up with one-to one work and support at court, and at legal and health appointments etc. We encourage members to socialise together and provide mutual support. We go as group to lesbian social events. Recently we have been looking at a new ways to support our members using art therapy and trauma therapy. We are keen to make sure that Kairos is known across greater Nottingham because we are sure there are some women who need our support who have not yet found our organisation.
  • NCVS – speaking about the range of issues that small groups face in Nottingham and how NCVS supports them. NCVS work with Women and LGBT+ VCS organisations in Nottingham providing organisational support around funding and governance.
  • Notts LGBT+ Network – Notts LGBT+ Network  (formerly Lesbian & Gay Switchboard) started in 1975It operates in several ways
    1. A 5-night-a-week helpline providing information and support by phone, e-mail, texting and instant messaging
    2. Produces a widely circulated bimonthly community newsletter QB
    3. Provides training for its volunteers and for external organisations
    4. Maintains an accurate and comprehensive LGBT database
    5. Has a presence at external events and community forums
    6. Distributes information via its website, Facebook and Twitter
  • Nottingham Muslim Women’s Network – speaking about campaigning and increasing visibility of Muslim women in Nottingham as well as one to one and groups with women that you offer. NMWN  provides activities for women and girls (over age 13) from all faiths and backgrounds as well as support and sessions around a variety of issues including domestic violence, honour based violence, forced marriages, sexual exploitation and more.
  • Notts SVSS – speaking about the counselling group, Beyond Survival, and collaborating on campaigns around enabling anonymous voter registration and Reclaim the Night. Notts SVS Services offer specialist counselling and support for survivors of sexual violence, aged 13+, living in Nottingham/shire.  Services include face-to-face counselling, telephone helpline, email support, group sessions, support for survivors of institutional sexual violence and ISVA Service support for survivors accessing the Criminal Justice System. Services are provided free of charge, from professionally trained staff/volunteers.  A choice of male or female counsellor can be offered.  Services for women are provided in a women-only space.
  • POW  Fab work with sex workers, also campaigning on sexual exploitation. POW  support sex workers by providing peer mentoring and volunteering opportunities to support lifestyle changes. POW addresses the multiple and complex needs of its service users including health needs; housing; benefits; immigration and employment related skills and support.

*subject to change