Giving back to local women in Liverpool
By Vicky Grice, Barista
I applied to Partner Fund this time last year to support myself in completing the massage specialism of my NVQ in beauty therapy. I could then hold regular relaxation mornings alongside local charities in Liverpool to support women who have been victims of domestic violence.
I feel strongly about volunteering my time in this way, because sometimes I don’t think women get the help they really need or deserve, and when they do it’s such a long road back to recovery. Every positive influence they get gives them that little boost they need. It’s unbelievable how lovely these women are, but at the same time how sad they are; they have lost all confidence in themselves and in the people around them. When you find out most of them have children that have been through this with them, and are living with them in the hostels, it’s heartbreaking.
When I found out that Partner Fund would support me in full, I immediately went to my manager to arrange times and dates to do the mornings. I am now doing a 3 hour session every fortnight upstairs in our store at Bold Street, Liverpool. I would like to turn this into a weekly arrangement when I finish college in June, and extend a helping hand to any other organisations who wish to hold similar events. Our store provides cambros of coffee and tea for the ladies, to give them time to communicate with others in similar situations, with the ladies from Liverpool South Vineyard there as moral support.
I can't tell you how much of a success my relaxation mornings are. I've met so many women who have come back time and time again – remember, just getting them to leave their hostels is an achievement for them - so I really do feel like I’m making a difference in their lives. One lady in particular is also a qualified beauty therapist, and she’s realised she wants to get back on her feet and start her own business again after speaking to me. How wonderful is that!I have hostels all over South Liverpool interested, so we try and squeeze as many ladies in as we can. It’s getting so busy that we are thinking about getting help from another qualified beauty therapist who has volunteered herself for a couple of hours a week, and a woman from the Body Shop has also said she’s interested in getting involved.
Working with Liverpool South Vineyard (LSV) has allowed us to expand the support we offer by getting all the stores in our district involved. Partners have volunteered to help paint the houses that the women and children are due to move into, as well as organising reading and drawing groups for the children who come to the mornings. This gives the ladies some time to be around each other and relax during their treatment.
It all came together so easily, LSV have provided me with funds to help with products and towels to enable me to continue. Myself, and the team at LSV want to make this a lot bigger, and I seriously want to continue to do this no matter what I am doing in my life because it is just so rewarding. I would eventually like to consider turning this into a part-time career, working alongside the church and other organisations. I’d love to travel around and do similar events all over the North West, but I am taking it one step at a time and loving every minute of it!
Without the help from Partner Fund, I simply wouldn’t have been able to set up these mornings and in turn give something back to the community - I wouldn’t have been able to continue with my course, due to the price of the fees. I’m flying through my NVQ course, and I’ve learned so many valuable skills that I can take away with me when I finish. It is also helping me build my confidence, in dealing with all manner of situations. I have started my own mobile beauty therapy business over the last couple of weeks, and this is looking very promising for the future.