Jackie’s Jokers is an organisation which aims to help vulnerable women from the Preston Road area.

The funding from the Neil Hudgell Solicitors Trust will enable the group to run arts and crafts sessions which involve flower arranging, card making, glass painting, bead work, cross stitch, embroidery and personalised printing.  The money will contribute towards art and craft materials for the group.

Beneficiaries will be vulnerable women from the Preston Road area aged 16 to 70 who suffer from physical disabilities, mental health issues and social isolation.  Sessions will take place twice a week and approximately 25 people will engage in the project.

Yvonne Oglesby from the Preston Road Women’s Centre said: “We are so pleased to have been chosen to receive support from The Neil Hudgell Solicitors Trust Fund, Jackie’s Jokers provides a creative and social reason for women to drop in at the centre, but so often we find that the first visit leads to us being able to offer support on a range of issues such as: debt, domestic violence, education, employment… and that’s why it is so important to be able to create a welcoming and practical reason to call in.”

Yvonne has provided some feedback on how the project has gone and some of the benefits for those that have attended the groups;

“Watching the women each week grow in confidence, watching their smiles getting wider. The women are making friends and feeling less isolated, laughing out and talking to each other. Knowing that they are growing stronger to be able to ask for a service within the centre as they got to know the team leader through the activities they have been doing. So not only do the women enjoy the group, they gain support from the centre for more complex issues. It’s a win, win situation.”

“The grant has made a massive difference, meaning the group could carry on meeting and developing their artistic side. The women feel safe at the women’s centre and want to carry on here in a safe environment. This grant has helped stop isolation in a deprived area for vulnerable women, also mental health and other disabilities. Our women say “we love this group and would be lost without it”.”

Barbara – “We have had days out, if it wasn’t for this place I wouldn’t talk to a soul from one day to the next. People here make me feel good even on the days when I come in and feel down. They get you involved and if your problem is too big and you really are down they get you the help you need from the Supporting Team within the centre. This place makes you forget your problems and that you’re lonely for a little while.”