Emma has always been a strong supporter of (WHiST) Women’s Health in South Tyneside (WHiST) and so was delighted to be asked to speak at their AGM last Friday. WHiST provides gender-specific services open to all women over 16. The services ‘wrap around’ to give women total flexibility of access and to cover all types of issues in relation to maintaining mental and physical health. You can read below what Emma said at the event:
“Having closely followed the development of WHiST, it is incredible to hear and see what you have achieved, how you have grown and to realise that you have been a part of our community for 30 years. Congratulations to you all.
Organisations like this face challenging times as funders’ requirements change and austerity continues to bite hard in the third sector. Your strength as an organisation clearly comes from within. The talents, values, passion and dedication of everyone involved with WHiST have earned you your place as a respected and much needed part of South Tyneside life.
Back in 1986 WHiST was set up for a reason – to fill gaps in the provision of services to women. We might even have imagined and hoped that by 2016 there should be no gaps to fill. But in reality, demand for women-centred support services has increased. If anything, the pressure on mainstream health and wellbeing services, coupled with public sector funding cuts across the board, can be seen as actually displacing additional demand to the third sector. Cuts under the Coalition and this Government have had a disproportionate effect on women overall.
Recently I have been campaigning with the WASPI Women against State Pension Inequality, whose pensions have been stolen by the Government and working to stop the changes to housing benefit that will place women’s refuges at risk.
We all know that women have never made progress by sitting quietly in the corner. I have no doubt, given the abusive comments I receive daily, that some people would prefer to have me sitting quietly in a corner! But trust me as the first female MP for Shields I will never be found quiet or in a corner, especially when women’s services are under threat.
I wish you all the very best for the coming year and look forward to continuing to work with you all. “
Emma invited questions at the end of her address, Emma’s responses gave more details about her work in Parliament and Shields, she was also thanked for her support to all local women in particular her support for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community groups.