Arcon Housing

Arcon is an independent housing association in Manchester. They support community-run projects that improve neighbourhoods and the quality of life for local people. Sarah Taylor, Community Development Officer attended a taster session we ran as part of the 16 Days of Activism of Violence Against Women and Girls and was determined to bring our Stay Safe women’s course to her community.

Over 5 weeks, we delivered our women’s course with a diverse group of local women. Although the topic of gender violence is tricky to navigate, we created a warm and safe environment for the women to feel strong, heard and confident and they embraced the course content and made it their own. There were a few tears, much laughter and lots of support, understanding and listening. Together the women discovered how strong they could be physically and emotionally and talk about how they were teaching their friends, sisters, mums and colleagues what they had learnt during our course.

Sarah Taylor said ‘It has been an absolute pleasure working with Julie and Freedom Personal Safety. Julie is organised and clear in what it is that she delivers, has been flexible to the needs of the participants and the sessions have been so well received by those attending. Julie brings such passion that it feels like we can share, whilst also have a bit of fun.

The learning from the sessions has been transformative for many…including myself. We have learned skills which have equipped us for life. It has been so empowering to look at a woman’s body in what it can do! For its strength! We don’t often look at ourselves in this way and we’ve felt amazing at the end of each session.

We have all left weekly with new things to show our friends and family, and there is certainly a ripple effect in that those attending the sessions (certainly every participant in the ones I have attended) have not only had further conversations with other women in their life about the self-defence moves, but also the conversations about women’s strength and right to be safe.

I have absolutely loved working with Julie and know the women on the course have too (all ages, ethnicity, physical ability). I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Julie commented ‘by working in partnership with Arcon, we were able to bring this course to the women of Gorton in Manchester, and help them to feel safer in their community. Sarah’s skill as a community development officer meant that she had established strong relationships with the women, who then felt safe to try something new and fully embraced the interactive elements of our Stay Safe course. It was a joy to see the women open up and feel more confident about their personal safety and their right to be safe.’

If you would like to bring our women’s Stay Safe course or shorter workshops to your community, workplace, organisation, do get in touch.