By Rebecca Tierney
February of this year saw Ayrshire Women’s Hub move to a new premises.
“I know it’s the new premises because it’s so warm – I don’t need to bring extra jumpers!” The organisation’s groups co-ordinator Cat Leith laughs as she talks to us about the change in venue.
The building, on Miller Street, now has a ramp and a lift for disabled users which founder and managing director, Angie McPike, says is key.
“It has made such a huge difference to now know that we are fully inclusive for everyone – there’s one user of our service who has been engaging with us for four years and only visited us in person on the opening day of our new building which has finally given her the chance to be a part of our family in person.”
We asked Angie about instilling confidence when making the physical move from one building to another and she said that home comforts were at the forefront of the decorating: “We made a lot of furniture out of the pallet walls from the old building and even this small gesture means that when people come in they are reminded of the old building and assured that this, too, is a safe space.”
Cat told us all about how the new space also has more rooms available for activities: “Women come to us with ideas for what they’d like to see and we can accommodate things during the day as well as in the evenings – the spaces are always there for use.”
As well as offering group yoga sessions, arts and crafts and even virtual coffee mornings; the premises has an onsite cafe complete with handmade scones.
The cafe is donation based and is nestled amongst fairy lights and a coffee bar, directly behind the hub’s main seating area complete with several couches and a warm, comforting atmosphere.
The service which offers advocacy, as well as emotional and physical support for all in need has been operational since 2018.
“It can sometimes be the smallest things that make the biggest difference”, Cat tells us about her first interaction as an employee of the hub, “I had to call the opticians for someone which might seem like nothing for us but it was something that terrified this person.”
She said there is no greater feeling than knowing that you are making a difference.
Angie echoes this sentiment when she tells us about the organisation’s latest outreach efforts for Ukraine: “It all came about very quickly, so we’re having to develop it as we go, but there has been so much support from the community and we’ve already secured accommodation in East Ayrshire for some Ukranians who have been displaced, as well as managing to successfully get four Artic trucks to Ukraine.”
If you want to find out more about the organisation and how you can get involved, visit their website.