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Pill community champion asks: What do women want?

One of Newport’s newest community champions is on a mission to find out what women want.

Lynette Webbe, of Linton Street, Pill is the Communities First health champion for women and old people and through a series of public consultations, she hopes to better identify the needs of Newport’s women.

Communities First is given Welsh government funding to supply services for their communities, aiming to support the most disadvantaged people in certain areas.

Ms Webbe said: “Instead of taking money and wasting it, we need to start by asking ‘what do you want?’ They call us the hard to reach people but if you offer us a hand we’ll take it.

“It’s about health and wellbeing. They put on what they think – but now we are going to ask women what they want. This is the change.”

The consultation events will include open discussions, activities and opportunities for feedback.

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Ms Webbe said: “It helps to be able to say to women ‘I understand where you are in your lives, because I’ve been through it’. I’m hoping for as many women to come as possible.”

After spending years living in Birmingham, Ms Webbe returned to Newport, where she grew up, at the end of 2012.

She is a dedicated volunteer and has worked with the British Heart Foundation and Time to Change Wales.

“When I was in a dark place, I would go and volunteer. I’m a cobweb shaker, feel good maker. I want to improve the quality of my life and improve that of others,” she said.

“I’ve come back to Newport with so much knowledge. This knowledge will help other women to have a voice.”

Communities first has three main health strands – physical wellbeing, healthy cooking and health promotion services.

Nathan Davies of Communities First, said: “It’s all about awareness. Communities First money is for the communities. We could easily go ahead and just put stuff on, but I don’t think that’s the right way of spending it.”

His colleague, Sajeeda Nanabawa said physical activity was one of the biggest issues to tackle.

She said: “I really do hope this project will help a lot of women out there.”

The first consultation event is open to all women and will be at the Pill Millennium Centre this Thursday, 10am-1pm. Free refreshments will be provided. Others will be held at Stow Hill Centre on March 25th, noon-3pm, and Maindee Community House on March 28th, 1.30pm-4pm.

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