WAO July Newsletter 2022

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Welcome to Women’s Aid Orkney’s July Newsletter.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • Moving into permanent accommodation after a year in emergency!
  • “If I look back to the person I was last year…I’m a completely different person.”
  • Sit comfortably with two male officers and give a statement after spending years being too afraid to be in the company of men for any extended period of time.
  • Having done a lot of work to heal, get to know herself and build a strong support network, now no longer needs WAO support.
  • Angela had provided her with better support than any support worker/mental health professional ever had before.
  • Seeing an abusive relationship pattern for what it is and getting the help to leave and say, “no more”.
  • Learning to love and value herself so that he no longer has the power to hurt her.

Women’s Service

67 Active Cases

CYP Service

31 Active Cases

Achievements from the Own My Life Course

  • Joining an online course, despite her anxiety
  • Refusing to give up despite the challenges
  • Not going back.
  • Completion of a 12 week course, even when on holiday!
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During one OML session they looked at the things they love doing that leaves them feeling good and the list was:

  • Watching a film,
  • Reading a book
  • Making jewellery
  • Going for a walk
  • Eating chocolate
  • Being with my cat
  • Watering my tomato plants
  • Sea swimming

The next Own My Life course will run in September, if you would like to find out more about the course please get in touch –

WAO Auction

We are so excited to announce our August Auction. We have been very lucky with receiving some wonderful donations, including an exclusive tour of The Pier Arts Centre achieves, an original piece of music composed by Eric Linklater, The Valhalla Collection of Highland Park Whiskey and more exciting prizes.

You can find out auction site here –

We would like to thank everyone who has donated a prize –

WAO Shop

Our online shop has been up and running for just over a month now and we have been overwhelmed by everyone’s support. We would love to be able to offer more sizes and styles, if you have any lovely pieces that you would be happy to donate, please get in touch.

We update our stock most Fridays and can now offer collection for people living in Orkney. If you see anything you like in our shop, you can drop us an email before making a purchase – and we can organise collection or discuss any of the products further. Unfortunately we cannot offer trying on facilities at collection.

WAO Awareness Talks

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Women’s Aid Orkney have been running Awareness Talks for the a selection of different organisations and groups in Orkney.

Open to professionals and any community organisations, they can range from 10 minutes to 2 hours to fit the groups needs. The talks cover what Women’s Aid Orkney do and the services we provide, what domestic abuse is and how it effects Orkney.

If you would like to find out more about our awareness talks or book one please email –

Poem to Skye WA

WAO Staff Self-Care

This month the Women’s Aid Staff reflected on what cheers them up when feeling low or sad.

Action For Happiness – Altruistic August

Let’s create a wave of kindness to spread around the world.

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.


You can listen to the Action for happiness podcast that will take you through the August Altruistic calendar and give you hints and tips on how to journey through each days steps. They also have a selection of podcasts on mindfulness and mental wellbeing.

Getting Help

Special thanks…

  • Emma at OHAL for taking the time to talk through options for a SU to feel safer at home.
  • Anne-Marie at the Blide for recognising and signposting someone who WAO could help.
  • A special thank you to Cormac at Skaill House for being wonderful and making our CYP day out so much fun.
  • Huge thank you to Anne at VAO for being so helpful.
  • WAO would like to say farewell and thank you to Madeline for everything she has done with the CYP service during her time at WAO.
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WAO June Newsletter

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Welcome to Women’s Aid Orkney’s June Newsletter.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • Looking after themselves during a difficult time.
  • “I can do anything!”
  • Transition to KGS – feeling nervous but showing courage and managing the nervous feelings.
  • Reaching out for support.
  • “I feel like I’m really making progress towards having a clean slate”
  • Starting a new job after relocating.
  • Starting a new school and making friends.
  • Seeing a relationship for what it was really was and realising that person no longer has any power over them.
  • Continuing to use her network for support.
  • “when I was totally lost and my world was just turned upside down , your help & Women’s Aid in general was what got me through. I dread to think what my life would’ve been like without your help”.
  • Recognising a coping mechanism was not supportive and taking steps to stop.
  • Stating and re-enforcing her boundaries when under pressure not to.
  • “ My son said he didn’t know how he’d have gotten through the year without the support from his CYP worker”   

Women’s Service

69 Active Cases

CYP Service

31 Active Cases

WAO Online Shop

We are delighted to announce that our online shop is now live!

Our first sale is a collection of second hand Radley handbags and purses in amazing condition. All proceeds will go to Women’s Aid Orkney.

Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page to see any new releases in the shop –

If you have any special pieces you would like to donate to our online shop, please email We would be delighted to discuss items, due to our space, we won’t be able to take larger pieces like prams and furniture.

Soup Group

WAO Soup Group is returning!

Soup, scones or sandwiches! Join us to make a scrummy lunch and then all sit down to enjoy and chat. If the weather is nice, we may even have lunch in the garden!

The soup group will be happening once a month, on the first Tuesday of the month, to begin with, please get in touch to find out more or let us know if you plan to come. The first session will be happening on Tue 5th July.

Children & Young People Support Worker Post

An exciting job opportunity has arisen at WAO, please get in touch to find out more or request a recruitment pack by emailing

Family Forward

The Family Forward Service has had a busy start to the Summer with all their different group outings. They have held a couple of beach BBQs and attended the Sea Watch Foundation family fun day. Family Forward have even more exciting plans for the Summer, including bus trips to various locations around Orkney for picnics and trips to some of Orkney’s attractions. 

The Family Forward families have really been enjoying meeting one another at the group activities, and are looking forward to doing more over the Summer. 

“I had such a good time and I felt really comfortable with everyone “

Family Forward Young Person

“ The kids love the bbqs, and they’ve enjoyed playing the outdoor games with everyone so much that we’ve had to go out and buy some games equipment now!”

Family Forward Mum

Family Forward are joining in partnership with the Community Learning and Development team from OIC and Active Schools Orkney to visit some of the other islands this summer, where they will be hosting picnics and beach games for any families who would like to attend!  These picnics will be held in Westray on the 7th July , in Sanday on 12th July, and in Stronsay on the 2nd August – further details of these events will be advertised locally by CLD.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from support from the Family Forward Service then do get in touch by emailing – You can find out more about the service on our website –

Huge Thank You to Mind On

We are delighted to have received a very generous grant from Mind On and would like to say a huge thank you to the Board, Staff, Volunteers and everyone who uses the shop. All the money Mind On raise in their shop in Kirkwall stays in Orkney and supports numerous different local charities and groups.

Charlie Kennaugh from Mind On & Morgan Maxton WAO Service Co-ordinator

WAO & Amazon Smile

If you shop Amazon Prime Day deals on 12 & 13 July, Amazon will double donations: Simply shop with AmazonSmile ON in the Amazon Shopping app or at, and AmazonSmile donates to Women’s Aid Orkney. It’s easy to set up, costs you nothing extra and makes a huge difference for us.

WAO Staff – Feel Good Films

We have been discussing this month, what films make us feel good. From oldies to new, musicals to documentaries, everyone has a different feel good film. here are some of ours –

Poem to Skye

Action For Happiness – Jump Back Up July

In Action for Happiness’ July Calendar, they are looking at ways to bounce back.

Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

Nelson Mandela

Back off Scotland

The United States Supreme Court has chosen to overturn the landmark court case ROE v WADE (1973) which protects the right to choice when it comes to abortion. This is a huge decision and will effect Women’s autonomy over their bodies. Women’s Aid Orkney wants to support Women’s rights and choices.

Back Off Scotland started in 2020 to campaign for the Scottish Government to introduce harassment and intimidation free areas around clinics that provide abortion services across Scotland. They have held a summit on abortion care in Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon chaired the event. They are advocating on behalf of all women in Scotland, with the hope Scotland will never be influenced by America’s anti-abortion values. Below is a link to their website and petition, where you can show your support and help them evidence to The Scottish Government that change is needed.

Getting Help

As we say farewell to this years Pride Month, we hope June has brought you lots of love and celebration to our friends in the LGBT+ Community.

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Below is a link to some of the resources available through Galop, a charity that supports LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence.

Special Thanks …

  • The amazing group of girls at Stromness Academy that chose WAO for their YPI charity and secured £3,000. They did an incredible job with their moving presentation.
  • Huge thank you to Ingrid Budge, who did a fantastic workshop at Roosa.
  • The Police for their rapid response.
  • Huge thank you to Leila Dearness for a beautiful session with Roosa.
  • Thank you to everyone who has phoned us over the past few weeks and been patient with us while we learn to use our new phone system.
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WAO May Newsletter 2022

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Welcome to Women’s Aid Orkney’s May Newsletter.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • Stopped smoking.
  • Organising complicated logistics to begin a better life for her & her family.
  • “You helped me enormously! Thank you so much. I am absolutely grateful for your proactive energy. I have a greater sense of freedom and space. Sending you all brilliant wishes and continued success in your work with WAO. Orkney is lucky to have you put your energies towards uplifting women.”
  • Making a police statement despite high anxiety and in doing so helping other women.
  • Not giving up despite the challenges.
  • “Thank you again for all of your help and support over these past couple of weeks you really helped me to get the confidence I needed to do the right thing!”
  • Continuing her journey of self-discovery despite feeling daunted at times.
  • Completing their 12 week Own My Life course and now creating an Own My Life follow on group.
  • “Thank you so much for helping me. Hearing this has made me feel as though all the stress was worth it. I just wish I could have done it sooner!”
  • Returning to work.
  • OML participants “Thank you for our amazing gifts bags and journals, they’ve been a wonderful surprise”
  • Holding on for better days and keeping going when things got really hard.

Women’s Service

69 Active cases

CYP Service

39 Active cases

Roosa – What’s On…

Roosa have been busy offering some wonderful sessions at the Stromness Library. In their first month they have had a bingo and quiz morning and a wonderful session with Adele from Yoga Orkney.

Adele has also very kindly shared some of her free classes with us for everyone to enjoy, please find them in the link below.

Adele from Yoga Orkney creating a relaxing space at Roosa.

Upcoming sessions include, Adelle from the Dearness Distillery discussing how it feels to be a woman in business today and making a dream a reality, Leila Dearness will be taking a crafty workshop and Ingrid Budge will be taking a creative photography workshop by using light sensitive paper and flowers. 

And lots more exciting opportunities still to be confirmed.

Roosa is on every Monday at the Stromness Library, 10:30am – 12:30pm. All women are welcome, you can find out more information on our Facebook page – or on our website –

If you would like to talk to someone about Roosa you can email –

Poem to Skye

Phenomenal Women By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

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Photo by Jennifer Enujiugha on

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Women’s Aid Orkney Board

Have you ever wondered about being on a board? Would you like to support Women’s Aid Orkney and help it grow?

We are looking to expand our board and add to the already diverse group of women that help and support WAO. If you would like to find out what is involved in being a board member please get in touch, we’d be delighted to speak with you. Please email –

WAO Staff & Self-Care

Some of our staff have shared what helps them relax. It’s important to take some time to look after yourself, maybe you share some of our relaxation techniques or can be inspired to try one.

Action for Happiness – Joyful June

Let’s look for what’s good!

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.

Alice Morse Earle

Getting Help

Special Thanks…

  • Thank you to Stromness Library for supporting Roosa – a fun, social group for women in Stromness.
  • Ashley & The Dogs Trust Freedom Project for helping a woman & her family start a better life.
  • WAO have been down a few staff members this month due to illness, Chelle would like to give a huge thank you to the team for pulling together during a very difficult time.
  • Thanks to Adele from Yoga Orkney for a wonderful workshop for Roosa.
  • Louise, SWA legal team, for providing advice that put a SU more at ease.
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WAO April Newsletter 2022

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Welcome to Women’s Aid Orkney’s April Newsletter.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • “We are all so very grateful for all the support we all had. We are all happy together and communicate much better. Thank you, you helped put us all back together and we will never forget that”
  • Having the confidence to make own plans.
  • “Avalon’s been awesome”
  • Congratulation on a SU getting a new job.

Women’s Service

65 Active Cases

CYP Service

39 Active Cases

The Family Forward Service

Women’s Aid Orkney would like to introduce our newest service – The Family Forward Service. The Family Forward Service support families to build on their strengths as a family group. They help families get the most out of our local community and overcome the effects of domestic abuse and can provide individual family sessions in your own home and host group activities out and about.

We recognise that life is not simple. Good parenting and good relationships depend on a whole host of factors, many of which are outside our control. It is true however, that whatever life throws at us, we have to try to make the best of it in order to thrive. With compassionate understanding and acceptance, Family Forward has at its centre the ethos that our families are always trying their best at any given time. There will always be challenges, but we aim to support you to have fun as a family and build strong foundations in our community.

Relationships have the power to make us feel great, or totally the opposite. We spend time during the Family Forward programme sharing our understanding of what helps make strong and healthy relationships. We help families recognise their natural skills at interacting, so they can build on these and develop confidence in them.

Often families who have experienced domestic abuse encounter all kinds of barriers to participation in social and community activities. Issues such as affordability, transport, confidence and local know-how can all make it very difficult to take part in things. Family Forward helps identify these barriers and break them down.

You can get in touch by email: or you can also call the Womens Aid Orkney office on 01856 877900.

WAO Survey on Social Media and Online Platforms

Calling ALL women, we would love to hear your thoughts on different forms of social media and what you think of women’s voices online. We have created a survey monkey and would be incredibly grateful if you could fill it out. The survey is anonymous and only takes a minute.


Although we are a domestic abuse organization our work is changing and diversifying to better meet the needs of women in Orkney.  One of our aims is to be able to provide more groups and social activities for women that are not related to domestic abuse.  Our big aim is to eventually create a women’s centre which will be a fun, friendly place offering a wide variety of activities.

Meanwhile . . . we recently received some surprise funding and listening to feedback from a recent survey we carried out the idea for Roosa grew.

Women we work with have told us that they would like a place to go where they could have a free cup of tea (or coffee ), chat to people, have a go at some fun activities and maybe learn something new.

They also told us how lonely and isolating life was during lockdown times.

We decided to use all the ideas we have been given to run a 10 week group for women with somewhere to meet friends, make new friends, have a cup of tea and try a fun activity.

Roosa is beginning in Stromness and will be based in a room in the Stromness Library

Place: John Rae Room, Stromness Library – entrance can be directly from the street or thro the library

Times : Mondays 10.30 – 12.30

Dates: 9th May, 16th May, 23rd May, 30th May, 6th June, 13th June, 27th June, 4th July, 11th July, 18th July

Updates on what’s on will be on our website – or Facebook page –

WAO Online Shop

Women’s Aid Orkney are delighted to announce that we are currently setting up an online shop on our website. The shop will feature products made by WAO and pre-loved donations. Keep your eyes peeled for more information coming soon.

Poem to Skye


You will stumble.

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You will fall, fail, and bruise yourself.

You will feel like giving up some days.

The path won’t always seem clear,

and you won’t always want to carry on.

But remember, friend:

Doubting your path is part of the path.

Forgetting your path is part of the path.

Feeling lost, without direction, hopeless,

ashamed and alone is part of the path.

Try to rest from seeking answers today.

The seeking itself pushes away what is sought.

Be naked without answers in the first light of morning:

In your rush to be There, you forgot to be Here.

Kneel to failure, and you cannot fail.

– Jeff Foster

Action for Happiness – Meaningful May

Let’s find ways to be part of something bigger!

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It Does.

William James

Getting Help

Special Thanks…

  • Salvation Army Starter Packs, as they have really helped some ladies setting themselves up in their new homes.
  • Huge thank you to EIS for their donation.
  • Staff would like to thank the WAO Board for all their support.
  • Thank you to the Stromness and KGS YPI groups that chose us as their charity, were looking forward to your presentations.
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WAO March 2022 Newsletter

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Welcome to Women’s Aid Orkney’s March Newsletter.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • Offered or moving into permanent accommodation.
  • “The support I have received from WAO is like being a butterfly stuck in their shell when I started the service, then as time passes, you have helped me break free and become a wonderful colourful and independent butterfly who can now fly free.”
  • Making healthy connections with new friends.
  • Speaking her truth for the first time.
  • Overcoming fear & anxiety to start driving and doing things for herself again.
  • “Of all the help I’m getting it’s speaking to you that’s making the biggest difference”
  • Saying “No”.
  • Taking control of her life by joining courses to further her healing.
  • “Coming to the refuge gave me the safe space to learn how to find myself again, if I hadn’t come and had the help from ‘aid I really don’t think id still be here”.
  • “No one believed me, they said I was mad”.
  • “I never realised this was domestic abuse, for years I lived with this thinking I was to blame”.

Women’s Service

60 Active Cases

CYP Service

39 Active Cases

Own My Life

“This course has been a life saver” – Course Participant

The Own My Life (OML) course is an innovative, creative, educational 12-week course, with a 6-week follow-on course, for women impacted by domestic abuse.

Our new OML course begins on 4th May 2022.Places are booking up fast so please contact us asap for further details or to join our waiting list.

  • Do you think this course might help someone you know, a client, colleague, friend or family member?
  • Would you like to understand what the course entails and how to explain it to others?
  • Are you interested in how to enable women to join the course

Please get in touch via

Gardening Group

WAO’s Gardening Group is returning on 26th April, 2-3pm, for a 6 week block. The WAO garden is looking beautiful with all the bulbs the group planted at the end of last year but we still have lots planned to make it a beautiful space. Please get in touch for more information or to let us know you will be joining us.

Welly Bank for The Family Service

We are looking for donations of kids wellies so that we can establish a Welly Bank! Please get in touch if you have any good condition wellies you no longer need.

Poem to Skye

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Photo by Yuliya Kosolapova on

The truth is, in order to HEAL we need to tell our STORIES and have them witnessed…The story itself becomes a vessel that holds us up, that sustains, that allows us to order our jumbled experiences into MEANING.

As I told my stories of fear, awakening, struggle, and transformation and had them received, heard, and validated by other women, I found healing.

I also needed to hear other women’s stories in order to see and embrace my own.

Sometimes another woman’s story becomes a mirror that shows me a self I haven’t seen before. When I listen to her tell it, her experience quickens and clarifies my own.

Her questions rouse mine. Her conflicts illumine my conflicts. Her resolutions call forth my hope. Her strengths summon my strengths.

-Sue Monk Kidd-

Action for Happiness – Active April

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

– Jim Rohn

April is dedicated to keeping active, staying healthy and finding different ways to move. Wither you do the whole month or a couple of days, it all counts and works towards our daily fulfilment.

Getting Help

Special Thanks…

  • Catherine Leask at Moonshine Candles Co. for helping us create a beautiful charity candle for International Women’s Day.
  • All the ladies at The Peedie Cubby and everyone who supported us over the two weeks.
  • Chris at homelessness, for being so helpful and friendly.
  • Helen at RSO for all her great support in signposting women to our Own My Life course.
  • Everyone who donated girls toys from our Facebook appeal.
  • Gerd from Healthcare Improvement Scotland Community Engagement, for his work with our CYP service and Orkney Bairns’ Hoose.
  • All the fun, inspirational, amazing women on our current Own My Life course.
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WAO February 2022 Newsletter: And breathe…

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Welcome to Women’s Aid Orkney’s February Newsletter. This month has been all about reflecting and letting go of things that trouble us.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • “Sometimes I just need to call, touch base with you and then I’m ok.”
  • “I just feel so alone and don’t know what to do.”
  • Successfully taking part in an activity she thought she was unable to face.
  • Returning to work.
  • “I genuinely don’t think I would be here today if it wasn’t for you and Women’s Aid”
  • “I want to say a HUGE thank you for all your support this past while. I don’t only look at you as a support worker, I look at you as a very special friend.”
  • “It’s almost a year since I ended up in Womens Aid care… and look where we are now and how we are doing. It’s brilliant. We are happy and doing so well. Thank you for being there for us.”
  • “WAO have been wonderful , we couldn’t have got through it all without them. They are wonderful with the kids and have made such a difference to them. All the stuff they did in lockdown and are still doing. The kids think they are amazing and I cant praise them enough.”

Women’s Service

58 Active Cases

CYP service

38 Active Cases

Mid- Winter Celebration

We had a lovely afternoon for our Mid-Winter Celebration, we’re looking forward to carrying this on throughout the year. This celebration was all about letting go of worries and welcoming Spring and taking in new beginnings. Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page to find out when the next celebration will be taking place.

WAO in The Peedie Cubby

Women’s Aid Orkney will be in the Peedie Cubby from Monday 7th March until Saturday 19th March. Donations can be dropped off during the two weeks and we are all looking forward to seeing lots of lovely faces each day.

Free Online Trauma Sensitive Yoga Classes for Survivors & Support Workers.

A member of Scottish Women’s Aid Survivor Reference Group is a trained Yoga teacher, specialising in Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Yoga to help anxiety. She will be facilitating a 6 week block of online yoga sessions with her during March and April. These will be free for all women receiving a service from a Women’s Aid group. It will also be a useful learning opportunity for support workers.

Each session will be 45 minutes long, take place over zoom (no need to have cameras on) and all we ask from those who attend is to answer a short anonymous survey at the beginning and end of the block.

Trauma sensitive yoga classes are tailored to survivors of trauma and folks with PTSD. Trauma sensitive yoga is an evidence based practice which uses a “bottom up” approach to calm and regulate the nervous system which is often overactive in survivors of trauma. In mainstream yoga classes, some survivors may feel triggered by certain poses, overwhelmed by the pace and rigidity or perhaps physically unable to participate due to injury or differing abilities. Trauma sensitive yoga is an open and inviting practice, where survivors are invited to take part at their own pace, adapting their practice as they need to, with the aim of giving them back a sense of power and control of their own bodies and minds which is an essential aspect of healing.

If you are interested in finding out more or would like to register for yourself or a woman you work with please contact

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CYP Paper Collage Workshop

A big thank you to Ingrid and Katherine for the fabulous paper collage workshop and showing the group some lovely arty ideas. A big thank you to everyone who joined in and made it such fun, even some in candle light due to a power cut!

To find out more about CYP SODA and the groups they offer, please email –

Abuse Doesn’t Go Unnoticed – #friendscantell

We’re supporting the #FriendsCanTell campaign– to de-normalise the controlling behaviours that
hundreds of young people said are so common in their social circles that they are considered

Through the #FriendsCanTell campaign – designed by young people – you can be upskilled to recognise and safely manage concerns about abuse in your friend’s relationship. Young people can be empowered to tell their friend ‘that’s not OK’, or to tell a professional on their friend’s behalf to get them the support they need. #FriendsCanTell is part of Your Best Friend, a Tampon Tax-funded project that aims to empower young girls, women and non-binary people aged 13-24 to spot and stop abuse in their intimate relationships.  The Your Best Friend project is guided by young people at every step.

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I Am Me

Who am I?
You ask who are you?
Mother, daughter, friend
Work colleague,
Home maker,
All of these come with expectations I may not live up to.
So, ask me again.
Who am I?
I’m me
What you see is me
A myriad of feelings and abilities at any time
All I ask is you see ME!
The person not the label or name.

– Michelle Ward

Supporting WAO with Amazon Smile

Do you shop on Amazon? You can support Women’s Aid Orkney at no extra cost to you, Amazon will donate to us each time you make a purchase. Use the link below to choose us as your chosen charity.

Action For Happiness – Mindful March

If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful March, let’s pause, breathe and really take in what’s all around us. You can download the FREE Action for Happiness app for iOS or Android, it offers friendly nudges with an action idea for each day and sends you inspiring messages to give you a boost. Check out their website for podcasts and much more.

Getting Help

Special Thanks…

  • To HMRC for listening to our concerns about economic abuse and inviting us to work with them as they develop domestic abuse guidance training for their frontline staff.
  • Carol, for being wonderful and keeping our office and refuge looking beautiful.
  • Amy at Happy To Help Orkney, Amy has been in decorating one of our refuge flats and has been a joy to have around.
  • From OML participants, Shona & Angela – “Thank you Lesley-Anne for the OML gift bags, they are amazing!”
  • Thank you to our refuse operators out in all weathers collecting our array of bins!
  •  Thanks to the families who have been joining our StoryPlay sessions and to Licketyspit Theatre Company, who have been training staff to facilitate the sessions.

Next Month…

We are delighted to announce that Bruce Adamson, the Scottish Children’s Commissioner will be visiting Women’s Aid Orkney and the CYP Service as part of his roadshow. WAO is the only Women’s Aid service in Scotland evolved in his tour. Bruce will be talking about his role and children’s rights and discussing these and gaining insights and views from CYP users in WAO.

International Women’s Day is the 8th March, we have something incredibly exciting lined up to celebrate the day, keeping checking our social medias to find out more shortly. We will also be teaming up with ORSAS to offer Women only events in Orkney.

January 2022 Newsletter : New Year, new opportunities & new services.

Photo by cottonbro on

Welcome to Women’s Aid Orkney’s January Newsletter. We have lots of exciting new updates, from new staff, services and groups happening.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • Achieving employment 
  • New staff are settling in well

Women’s Service

57 Active Cases

CYP Service

34 Active Cases

New Services at Women’s Aid Orkney


Women’s Aid Orkney has just set up a young women’s service – VERDA, it has evolved due to an increase in referrals and working with young women who were in abusive relationships but did not recognise that they were in these relationships. We worked with a focus group of young Orcadian women who identified that they often didn’t know what domestic abuse is or the red flags for identifying intimate partner abuse.  They told us they wanted to know how to ask for help and where to go for it.  They spoke about abuse they and their friends have experienced, slut shaming, gang rape at parties, sexting, vulnerable girls being targeted by older men, along with having to suffer in silence because they live in a close-knit community.  Our aim is to develop a strategy that enables young women to recognise domestic abuse and toxic relationships, offers them practical and emotional support to live safer lives alongside challenging the culture that leaves them vulnerable to gang rape, sexting, spiking and normalised sexual assault in Orkney’s pubs and bars. It is our hope that this service will be part of a turning point for Women’s Aid Orkney to take more of a preventative direction rather than firefighting.

If you would like more information or to talk to our young women’s support worker, please email –

You can also message VERDA’s Instagram page –

CYP Advocate Service

In spite of various political and legal moves which promote that young people have the right to have their views shared, barriers towards young people sharing their views still exist at organisational and professional levels.

The WAO CYP team recognises that for the safety of children and young people it is imperative that they are afforded flexible opportunities to share their views which are adaptable to their unique level of need.

‘‘mum says that dad wants to take me away, I don’t want to be with dad, but nobody will listen to me because I’m young, people will listen to *my brother because he is older’ (CYP aged 7)

The CYP service is now able to offer children and young people an advocate service. This service is impartial, and is provided for the child or young person only. The CYP support workers are often the only people CYP users feel comfortable sharing their experiences with. CYP support workers are trauma informed and have advocacy training.

If you would like to find out any more information on the CYP Service and what they can offer, please email

WAO Seasonal Celebrations & Gardening Group

Spring is in the air and the first flowers are starting to appear in the WAO garden, thanks to the ladies gardening group. The Gardening group will be returning in mid March.

We also had a lovely time at our Winter Celebration, the garden was transformed into a magical space, covered in fairy lights and tea lights. We surrounded the fire with marshmallows, hot chocolate and made a wish for the coming year.

Our next Seasonal Celebration will be a Mid- Winter Celebration on the 1st of February, 3-4pm. Please let us know if you wish to join us by emailing –


The CYP SODA Minecraft Club have been learning about New Years Resolutions and making Healthy Choices. They had a very exciting dramatic world about missing dragons (to be continued) and were taken inside a giant tomato!🍅 Together they learned that healthy choices are not just about habits and what they eat and drink, but how they treat themselves and others.

Post Graduate Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling Course in Orkney

Human Development Scotland are going to run a 2 year Post Graduate Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling course in Orkney beginning in August 2022.  The course has full professional validation by COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland). The programme is managed, delivered and awarded by Human Development Scotland and leads to an award on the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF). It has been credit rated by Robert Gordon University at SCQF level 11.

Further details can be found on HDS’s website or you can email Liz cairns directly for further information

Poem Exchange with Skye and Ross-shire Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid Orkney are doing an exchange programme with ROSSWA for the Own My Life Course. While discussing the exchange, they found that women enjoy poetry as part of their recovery. Here is Skye’s poem to Orkney by Becky Helmsley.

‘She sat at the back and they said she was shy,

She led from the front and they hated her pride,

They asked her advice and then questioned her guidance,

They branded her loud, then were shocked by her silence,

When she shared no ambition they said it was sad,

So she told them her dreams and they said she was mad,

They told her they’d listen, then covered their ears,

And gave her a hug while they laughed at her fears,

And she listened to all of it thinking she should,

Be the girl they told her to be best as she could,

But one day she asked what was best for herself,

Instead of trying to please everyone else,

So she walked to the forest and stood with the trees,

She heard the wind whisper and dance with the leaves,

She spoke to the willow, the elm and the pine,

And she told them what she’d been told time after time,

She told them she felt she was never enough,

She was either too little or far far too much,

Too loud or too quiet, too fierce or too weak,

Too wise or too foolish, too bold or too meek,

Then she found a small clearing surrounded by firs,

And she stopped…and she heard what the trees said to her,

And she sat there for hours not wanting to leave,

For the forest said nothing, it just let her breathe’

~Becky Helmsley

a woman holding a tree
Photo by Maksim Istomin on

Action For Happiness – Happier January

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world

Desmond Tutu

How can we start this new year happier? Things have certainly not been easy over the last year, and we are still in difficult and uncertain times. The best way to try to handle our difficult emotions and experiences is by focusing on what we can control. This month, we’re encouraging everyone to focus on small steps to try to boost happiness – for ourselves and others around us – to spread kindness and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Jan 2022 small

National Stalking Helpline

The National Stalking Helpline provides free, confidential, and tailored guidance to individuals experiencing stalking including information on legislation and relevant injunctions, guidance through the criminal justice system process, and personalised safety planning. For individuals who need ongoing support, they can signpost to relevant local services in areas of stalking, domestic abuse, mental health, disability, cybercrime, and victim support. You can find information on the various ways to contact the helpline, including their operating hours, here; Ways to contact us   

Getting Help

Special Thanks…

  • Shona Thain CFSW for excellent partnership working and  commitment to keeping a family safe.
  • WAO would love to thank all the wonderful new staff members that have joined us.
thank you signage
Photo by George Dolgikh @ on

December Newsletter: Festive Thoughts

yellow stars on white background
Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

Welcome to our December newsletter. We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us this year. We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • Determination to make positive change despite the challenges.
  • “I feel confident in finding my way, that’s thanks to the support of Women’s Aid”.
  • Working hard to be in a place where she can clearly state what she needs.
  • Moved away feeling positive and no longer requiring support.
  • Getting her first pay roll receipt.
  • Finding her voice.

Women’s Service

51 Active Cases

CYP Service

31 Active Cases

WAO Gardening Group

With winter days of greyness and long cold nights, spring can seem so far away and we know that winter can be a tough time for many people.

Our gardening group has shown us how being connected with nature, fresh air, movement and other people helps  us when we might be feeling low and lonely.  Gardening together is reminding us that, like the seasons, our days and lives are always changing; we can have the lowest and darkest of times, yet spring and sunshine do return. 

With our last gardening group of this year, we worked together quietly and peacefully, recognising that this is the season where we are meant to pause, rest and recover from the year’s busy-ness. So while garden work pauses our Gardening Group  has been reflecting on our Autumn achievement; planters pansy filled, rubbish removed and flower beds created.  Using what we are learning about working with the seasons, we are leaving the soil to rest, ready for the return of spring and while we rest, we are reflecting on what we have learnt and making plans ready to sow the seeds for our new gardening year.

WAO’s Garden Group would like to invite women, children and young people to our Winter Celebration.

Join us for a special mid winter celebration, where with hot chocolate, mince pies, toasted marshmallows we will get together to around our fire to light a candle and make a special wish for next year. Please let us know if you would like to join us by emailing –

Own My Life

a woman with headphones using a laptop on an armchair

We’re excited to announce that our next Own My Life online course will start in January 2022 (Wednesdays 6.30 – 8.30pm).

Also super excited to announce we now have an exchange programme with Ross-shire, Skye or Lochalsh Women’s Aid!

If anyone from Orkney is concerned about doing the course with women from their local community, they can do it ‘in’ Orkney (via zoom) and vice versa.

We’re looking forward to welcoming women from Orkney or Ross-shire, Skye or Lochalsh to our next Own My Life course! For more information or an informal chat please email

“The Own My Life course has begun my new, better life.”

– Previous Own My Life Participant

We have begun a poem exchange with Skye Rosshire, here is Orkney’s Poem to Skye.

light sunset fashion beach

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

Portia NelsonThere’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

WAO in The Peedie Cubby

We are delighted to announce we will be in The Peddie Cubby from the 24th January – 5th February.

At the start of next year we will be looking for donations, please keep us in mind if you are planning an annual clear out.

We will also be looking for volunteers to help us in our time in the shop. If you would be interested in volunteering for a morning or afternoon slot, please get in touch by emailing

Christmas Opening Hours

We will be closed from 12pm on 24th December and re-open on the 5th January.

CYP SODA Christmas Tree

Our offices may be closed but that doesn’t mean you are alone, we are here for you. If you need support through Christmas there is the National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247 or we have an emergency support number – 07444009736

Supporting WAO this Christmas

If you shop with Amazon you can select us as your charity cause. Shop as you would normally and Amazon will donate on eligible purchases

Action For Happiness – Do Good December

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.”

– Kahlil Gibran

This has been another difficult year of uncertainty and ups and downs for many of us. Kindness is contagious, and helping others has been proven to make us feel better too!

Hear Her Voice

Women’s Aid NI survivors and All State NI volunteers came together as part of the #HearHerVoice project to unite these voices together, and here is the powerful song they recorded. The voices of domestic abuse survivors are incredibly powerful and deserve to be loudly heard.

Getting Help

Special Thanks…

  • Big thanks to OHAL for keeping on top of our repairs.
  • The Sarwar Foundation Toybank for providing much appreciated vouchers at Christmas.
  • Lynn and Foubister & Bain for their patience and awesome accounting.
  • The Orkney Foodbank for their hard work and dedication all year round but especially over the festive period in helping the most desperate folks in the community.
  • Ross-shire, Skye or Lochalsh Women’s Aid for agreeing to and joining an inter-island Own My Life exchange programme.
  • Zoe Lodrick for powerful, informative training on sexualised trauma and the characteristics of a sex offender.
  • To the WAO elves for creating our WAO parties for women and for children and young people.
  • For all the generous support from our wonderful community in helping us work towards our aim of an Orkney free of domestic abuse.
  • The Hygge Clinic for collecting Christmas present donations for our Service Users.
  • The St Magnus cathedral for their donation of £1,000
  • A huge thank you to our wonderful Manager, Michelle. Thank you for all your support.

Message from our WAO Manager

Women’s Aid Orkney would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the year and wish you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

November Newsletter : Outdoors, being creative and getting involved.

yellow flower in black background
Photo by Juanjo Menta on

Welcome to our November Newsletter. This month we are taking some me time, through being outdoors gardening, using mediation and being creative. We have lots of exciting things for everyone to get involved with, our toy tombola, creative exhibition and bulb morning. Read on to find out more…

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

·  Being able to ask for help, standing up for her rights, moving on from WAO support.

·  “I’ve finally slept a bit better”

·  “Can you train us in how to run an Own My Life 16 – 25 course” – participants’ feedback from Scottish Women’s Aid Conference 

·  Having CSO removed.

·  Working hard to complete job applications.

·  Prioritising self and looking after own mental health.

Women’s Service

51 Active Cases

CYP Service

29 Active Cases

WAO Gardening Group

The Women’s Gardening Group is in full swing, the weather hasn’t dampened our spirts yet!

The group have planted Snowdrops and Crocus in the lawn, we are looking forward to seeing them bloom in January/February. If you are not an outdoor person, we also have indoor activities, last week some of group painted plant pots.

We will be hosting a bulb planting morning on Saturday 11th December, 10am – 12pm. Please join us for a fun morning, there will be coffee and cake! Please email if you would like to come along.

Monday Mini Meditation

Monday Mini Meditation is back and will be running for 4 weeks. It will be an online course starting on Monday 22nd Nov at 19.30 – 20.00 for women.

Its going to be relaxed and informal, on Zoom; women can turn their cameras off.

People can turn up with cosy blankets, pets, children, in their PJ’s/onesies etc and each session we will have a go at the following:

  • A relaxing breathing technique
  • A short guided visualisation

Please email if you would like to receive the zoom link.

WAO Annual General Meeting

We would like to invite you to our AGM on Monday 29th November at 6pm, held virtually over Zoom. If ypou would like to receive a zoom link, please email –

WAO Exhibition – A Moment In Time

“Using resilience, growth, reflection as inspiration when taking photos, got the old grey matter working. I’m not a “Deep and Meaningful” person, so exploring those thoughts and emotions were out with my comfort zone. That in itself was a challenge, but my own resilience came to the fore, and back came “How do I know if I don’t like it if I don’t try it?”

– Daffy

A Moment In Time is a collection of photography and poetry put together by women and WAO. It was inspired by 16 Days of Action and making women’s voices heard through creative arts. The exhibition will be at No 25 Kirkwall from 25th November – 1st December. The work and a selection of cards will be for sale supporting Women’s Aid Orkney.

Toy Tombola

Since the Charities bazaar is cancelled this year, we have decided to put our fair online! Our Toy tombola is £2 a ticket, the more tickets, the more chance of winning more prizes. All toys, games and puzzles are brand new and all proceeds to towards Women’s Aid Orkney. All tickets will be added to our WAO winners wheel and drawn on the 2nd December. Prizes will be selected at random and unfortunately we will be unable to swap. Message our Facebook page to enter and receive payment info.

Own My Life

This week our current Own My Life group were looking at values, what values are and identifying their own values.  They looked at how perpetrators can influence someone’s values and how they can manipulate and break down an individual’s values. 

Here is what the group identified… 

If you would be interested in our own my life course or know someone you would like the refer onto our course the next 12 week course will be starting in January please get in touch with or

A Huge Thank You to Drever & Heddle

This year instead of doing secret santa the staff at Drever and Heddle decided to donate the money to Womens Aid CYP service. They have raised a total of £430.00 which will be shared with Orkney Women’s Aid and Thurso Womens Aid.

Irene who is a great advocate for and supporter of our service will be buying gifts with the money and wrapping them for all CYP in the service.

Madeleine, Debs and all at WAO would like to say a massive thank you to all the staff for  the generous donation and for making a difference to children’s lives at Xmas.

We wish them all a happy and peaceful Xmas.


The CYP SODA group had a wonderful time with Katherine Diaper at their Acrylic workshop. The next session will be a water media workshop.

Cycling UK – Rural Connections

A new Cycling UK project for 2021, Rural Connections supports people to cycle, walk and wheel – for everyday journeys, leisure and adventure. We offer:

  • A wide range of cycling and walking activities for all abilities
  • FREE short and long-term cycle loans to help people find a cycle that works for them. From pedal and balance bikes for children, to hybrid, mountain, tandem and electric bikes, all are available for short and long-term try-outs. One-to-one cycle training sessions are also available, so you don’t need to be an experienced cyclist to get involved.
  • Support for local organisations to coordinate and add walking, wheeling and cycling opportunities to their existing activities
  • Upskilling of volunteers to deliver activities in their communities and keep cycles working if there is no local bike shop
  • Localised networks of organisations, communities and individuals supporting walking and cycling initiatives.

Find out more at the Cycling UK Orkney Facebook page –, or simply get in touch with your local Development Officer –

Action for Happiness – New Ways November

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid, step out of your comfort zone and soar.”

– Michelle Obama

Learning something new or getting involved in an activity that really absorbs and interests us is great for our wellbeing. Keeping our brains active is not only good for us physically but it can help you feel you are flourishing as you see yourself make progress with a new skill, or just make you smile as you make a mess and decide to start again. Being playful and trying new things is important, as is remembering that it’s OK not to get it right first time – change “I can’t do it”, into “I can’t do it…yet!” This month’s calendar is full of ideas to help you decide what to try next.

Getting Help

Special Thanks…

  • Math at ADP and Lee & Darren from CREW, Edinburgh, for their really informative drugs training and keeping a heavy subject relaxed and interesting.
  • Refuse & recycling team: thank you for helping us out when we were in a pickle.
  • All the professionals who supported our Open Day and listened to our talks.
  • To our Own My Life group for sharing such fascinating facts, fun and laughter with us.  Did you know that giraffes hum at night?
  • Huge thank you to The CO-OP Community Fund and all the CO-OP members for helping us raise £10,135.28. The money raised will go towards our refuge and outside space.
Photo by alleksana on

October Newsletter: Groups & Exciting Opportunities.

Welcome to our October newsletter. This month we’ve been revaluating what support roles and activities would best serve the community. We’re excited about taking these forward alongside the usual services we provide and hope you will be too. A new exhibit, training for professionals, open days & Halloween fun! Read on to find out more…

Women’s Service

56 Active Cases

CYP Service

35 Active Cases

Service User’s Feedback & Achievements

  • Making new friends, growing a new relationship and moving on from WAO support.
  • Wearing what she wants to wear.
  • Not using alcohol to cope when life gets tough.
  • CYP disclosed that they have abstained from physically aggressive responses for over a month now. This was confirmed by their guidance teacher; ‘CYP has made significant improvements in managing his emotions and physical outbursts’ (Education staff)
  • Job interview which was a massive achievement for her.
  • Joining our Gardening Group despite not knowing anyone.

WAO Gardening Group

Garden Plan for the WAO garden.

The WAO Gardening Group had a fantastic first session and plans are underway for transforming the garden at WAO.

The group is open to all women and will run for 6 weeks blocks. If you would like to join the group, please email – There will be indoor activities for rainy days and tea, coffee and cake!

WAO Open Day

We will be hosting an open day for all professionals and organisation in Orkney on Tuesday 2nd November. There will be timed talks and presentations on all the services we offer and an opportunity to talk to our staff and find out more about what we do and what we can offer.

Training Opportunity for Professionals – Own My Life

Own My Life has given me an opportunity to have something that is my own again, a safe place and source of stable comfort each week. […] Own My life has begun my new, better life.”

– Participant in Women’s Aid Orkney’s OML course

photo of woman raising both hands
Photo by Daniel Reche on

The Own My Life course is an innovative, creative, educational 12-week course, with a 6-week follow-on course, for women impacted by domestic abuse.

We’re now offering a 1 hour taster session for professionals on Wednesday 3rd November, 11am-12pm on Teams.

  • Do you think this course might help someone you know, a client, colleague, friend or family member?
  • Would you like to understand what the course entails and how to explain it to others?
  • Are you interested in how to enable women to join the course?

Please get in touch via or


Thank you to everyone who joined out Halloween Minecraft Party last week!

We saw some brilliant builds and spooky jack o lanterns and an impossibly spooky Halloween Quiz!

Following on form our previous ‘what is bullying’ challenge, we learned that self kindness is important especially at times when we don’t feel so good about ourselves and…..

‘We don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like us, but we should always respect each other’ (CYP aged 14)

‘We should treat people the way we want to be treated’ (CYP aged 9)

‘Its ok to make mistakes’ (CYP aged 12) Next Minecraft Group – Friday 12th November – Challenge, to make a giant firework! Extra challenge ~ Everyone gets angry sometimes, it’s a natural emotion, but riddle me this ~ is anger a good thing or a bad thing?

WAO Exhibition – A Moment In Time

“Using resilience, growth, reflection as inspiration when taking photos, got the old grey matter working. I’m not a “Deep and Meaningful” person, so exploring those thoughts and emotions were out with my comfort zone. That in itself was a challenge, but my own resilience came to the fore, and back came “How do I know if I don’t like it if I don’t try it?”

– Daffy

A Moment In Time is a collection of photography and poetry put together by women and WAO. It was inspired by 16 Days of Action and making women’s voices heard through creative arts. The exhibition will be at No 25 Kirkwall from 25th November – 1st December. The work and a selection of cards will be for sale supporting Women’s Aid Orkney.

Post Graduate Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling course in Orkney

Human Development Scotland are going to run a 2 year Post Graduate Diploma in Human Relations and Counselling course in Orkney beginning in August 2022.  The course has full professional validation by COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland). The programme is managed, delivered and awarded by Human Development Scotland and leads to an award on the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF). It has been credit rated by Robert Gordon University at SCQF level 11.

Further details can be found on HDS’s website or you can email Liz cairns directly for further information

Getting Help

Special Thanks …

  • To all the fabulous, brave women who attended our Own My Life course last night, thank you so much for the laughter, fun, wisdom and courageous sharing, alongside telling us very valuable facts about giraffe’s!
  • Craig Mitchel one of our wonderful Health Visitors who recognises domestic abuse and helps women access our support.
  • Tyla Thackwray for offering to create a special WAO knitting pattern, more information arriving soon!
  • Salvation Army & Stromness Church for the harvest festival donations.
  • Kirsty Thompson for creating the Newsletter for the last few years, hopefully it’s new publisher will do it justice!
snow man love people
Photo by Vie Studio on