Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid’s Young Women’s Refuge celebrates first birthday in style
Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid’s young women’s refuge, Seerose, celebrated its first anniversary with an exclusive event at Hazel & Haydn in the Jewellery Quarter.
On Wednesday 11th April, Dale Hollinshead, Manager of Hazel & Haydn, opened his doors to the young women based at Seerose, aged between 16-25, in celebration of this jubilee, offering them a range of services including: having their hair washed, cut and styled by his talented team.
‘We had a total of seven ladies in attendance and wanted to give them the best evening possible. We gave each individual tailored hair advice and offered them a variety of hairstyles to chose from, as well as blow-dry services’ said Dale.
They all came in with different questions and needs, which we advised and helped with, before showing the ladies how to get the most from their hair. We provided a safe environment where they could relax and be treated to some pampering; waiting on them hand and foot and making them look and feel fabulous’
Many of the women that attended have never been to a professional salon before, making this celebration even more meaningful to everyone involved. Part of BSWA’s work is to present the women in their care with new experiences, exposing them to opportunities which may even start them on a new career path. Previously, young women that have been supported by Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA) have gone on to finish their A-levels, study at university or enter their first job – one woman recently found employment, highlighting how important these opportunities are.
BSWA are the largest, holistic provider of support services to women and children who have experienced any form of violence across the Birmingham & Solihull Region, having supported 7,019 women and 4,135 children in the past year. Seerose is a unique refuge that has been developed by BSWA in response to the experiences of the young women in their other five refuges. BSWA wanted to create a service that was solely focused on the needs of young women; building and establishing life skills as many of these women have never lived alone.
Staff at the center work with each woman to create an individual support plan, which can include: ‘Money Management’ and ‘Understanding your Rights’ courses, as well as self-esteem and confidence workshops. They even go as far as help with shopping, cooking and cleaning, ensuring that everyone they work with has the skills to move forward and create a successful life for themselves after they have left refuge. BSWA take the time to make sure that the women create memories and have positive experiences, often taking them out for meals, to the cinema and the zoo. BSWA have worked hard to create a community in this new refuge, helping to rebuild confidence and independence.
Tanya Edwards, Manager of Seerose, said, “Day-to-day, young people do not feel like they are listened to – we wanted to create a place that values women and does not treat our younger attendees like children. Lots of these women do not have the chance to be independent and make their own decisions, often having professionals make them for them. We are keen to create a support system that we can work on alongside each individual, allowing them to make suggestions to their own plan. This often means they form their own personality and find close friends in Seerose, which are usually the first friendships they have made in their adolescence and is incredible to witness.’
In the past year, Seerose have supported 40 young women and seven children, and have plans to evolve their ex-resident services, looking at helping their attendees more in the community, once they have moved out and are living independently.