Vindicate women have an adventure on the Welsh border
A small group of women from the Vindicate project have enjoyed a long weekend in a huge, luxurious cabin in the woods. Not something our women enjoy routinely, so a real treat for us all. Just being together with some of our children and dogs. We have spent time relaxing, hot tubbing, going on adventures to nearby sites, late night walks and most importantly of all, enjoying each other’s company as women. Talking, laughing and having fun.
We’ve been to a national heritage site, to local market towns and to craft centres. We’ve walked dogs in the woods, have enjoyed a full roast dinner and have all contributed to a lovely weekend.
This is the third short break away for Cohort 4, for different project groups of women and each one has been so memorable and valuable as an opportunity to bond and to develop confidence and well being. So, I am asking our women and children what their favourite parts of this mini break have been,
C, ‘My favourite part was exploring the now de-commissioned Dana Prison in Shrewsbury, wandering around the empty wings, it was freezing. It was the uneasiness of the emptiness, knowing that men were kept there. You could feel the atmosphere hanging there.’
L, ‘Being with you lot. Just being away with you.’
K, ‘Oh the hot tub, and the prison, oh and the aqueduct, it was awesome. The prison visit was really sad, it was cold, you felt like crying, to think that people were put into those little cells. It really hits you that when people go into the prison system and have bunks and literally you turn around and there’s the toilet. I know people have committed a crime, and are punished, but you shouldn’t live like that, it’s not acceptable.’
Ka, ‘My favourite part of the weekend was going to the prison and the creepy stairs. There were lots of scary rooms and it was fun going in together.’
The visit to the prison had a profound impact on all of the group, women and children. One of our group has spent time in custody and recollected her experience to us all. Three others have had male partners in prison at some stage, and have made visits to partners. This led to some conversations about the difficulties about being left behind in the community whilst partners are sentenced to imprisonment. At Cohort 4 we support women through a variety of life experiences, including being left whilst partners undertake prison sentences. Who better to understand how this feels and the challenges presented to families left behind, than women who have been through that experience themselves.
A. ‘My favourite part was staying together and going places, we went as a group and no one missed out on anything. I think it’s been great being a big family together for this whole weekend.’
B, ‘ Oh the hot tub early in the morning with the robin and other birds chirruping on the boundary. It was magic – that, along with Kristy’s roast dinner; superb!’
Marley and Pippin’s best bits were running free in the woods ignoring their humans! That, and being given sneaky bits of cheese by Aunty B and being showered with love and fuss.
Thank you to our holiday donor, and to the Vindicate Project Manager for such a fabulous time. And the sun shon!