About Us & What Others Say
Our core values
- Genuinely for all women - A Centre for any woman offering information, education, leisure activities & signposting
- Generous of spirit and resource - Valuing each woman by sharing of our time and resources
- Encouraging of involvement and empowerment - A place that values any woman's contribution and does all it can to support personal development
- Respectful of difference and non-judgemental - Any woman is accepted, we are a place that actively values diversity and sees diversity as a source of enrichment
- Responsive to changing needs - Our programmes reflect what our current clients have told us they want and we see our role as trying to accommodate any woman's changing needs
- Confidential - We respect any woman's right to privacy and maintain total confidentiality unless there are safeguarding issues
- Low cost - We aim to keep costs to a minimum and provide an affordable service
- A safe space - A safe and mutually respectful place to work, learn and grow
- Refer where necessary – Occasionally a client many need support or expertise outside of our experience or skill set, when this happens we will refer people to the other charities or organisations who we believe are in a position to best help them.
Watford Women Centre opened for the first time in November 1989 through the work of a group of women involved in the support of victims of domestic abuse and rape. Initially it was run entirely by volunteers and through donations, such as its first premises – a porta-kabin next to St. Mary's Churchyard, offered by the Council. The services at this stage consisted of weekly drop-in sessions, which provided a forum in which women could openly talk about their individual concerns and get the support they needed. From its onset, its central location and indiscriminate approach ensured ample access to women from all walks of life.
Consolidation of the initial work happened through the appointment of a full-time co-ordinator, funded by Watford Borough Council, and the move to new premises, in Charter Place, which enabled the extension of the work being done through more days of the week and more services to a wider audience.
From its initial approach of supporting victims of domestic abuse and rape, the WWC now extended their services to support a wider array of needs and interests, such as: mothers ("Mother & Toddler Group", "Support Group for Mothers"), women in search of counselling, alternative therapies, assertiveness techniques and workshops - designed to improve their self-esteem, of support to return to work ("Job Clubs"), as well as subjects of general interest ("Contemporary Feminism", "Arts & Crafts", "The Art of Dress, Envy and Jealousy").
This pattern reflects the ethos of the Centre, which has maintained both its unshakeable focus on women and its flexibility to adjust its offer according to their needs throughout the years.
The promptness to respond to changing needs in the community and identify potential areas of need has enabled the identification of so far not easily accessible groups. A current project deals with ethnic minority women, attending to their specific needs and facilitating their integration in the wider community, through various programmes, such as language and ICT courses.
In 2012 we changed our name to Watford Women's Centre Plus as we were starting to see more men at our Job Clubs and on some of our courses, as we helped sons, husbands and brothers to resolve their dilemmas productively, and support their search for better relationships and work opportunities. At the same time we started to generate our own income, as council funding was removed over a four year period. We opened our first shop in May 2013 and regularly undertake other fundraising activities such as Quiz Nights, Parachute Jumps, Photography Competitions and Cheese & Wine tasting events. This has allowed us to continue our domestic abuse service which is the only one of its kind in South or West Herts.
Equality of opportunity is core to the ethos of the Centre – everyone should understand and be committed to the Centre's Equal Opportunity policy and any discrimination will be challenged and addressed. Our understanding of Equal Opportunities is that in order to allow every woman an equality of opportunity, we must treat individuals differently and adapt to their particular needs.
User Centred Approach
The WWC Plus service aims to always hold the client's best interest at the heart of any interaction between client and the Centre.
Client confidentiality is respected and held within the relationship with a client, in rare instances, such as an immediate risk of harm to a client or other person we may need to refer to an outside agency and we would wish that wherever possible any breach of confidentiality would include the client's permission/signed consent. We only approach an outside agency after consultations with the CEO or her nominated deputy.
In some circumstances we will contact a GP or consultant, again this is in consultation and preferably with the woman's consent. The law does require us to breach confidentiality in certain circumstances and this is covered in our Confidentiality policy
The Women's Centre answer phone is not secure or confidential, messages may be taken by volunteers and women need to be aware of this.