The past 12 months (and counting…) have been unbelievably tough on just about every member of society. But as the ‘stay at home’ messages continue to reverberate, pressure mounts on the people for whom home is not an easy, safe or happy place to be.
In a lot of cases, those people are women. We know that this pandemic has hit the female half of the population hardest, with women disproportionately impacted by issues like domestic violence, redundancies, childcare and more.
In Hull, minority ethnic women facing a range of human rights issues have had a place to turn to when in need. Since 2012, Hull Sisters has been a lifeline for women in the community suffering with genital mutilation, domestic violence, mental health, economical deprivation, immigration issues, racism and more.
The centre currently supports more than 485 women and their children, helping them to escape abuse, form stronger relationships and connect with others who understand what they’re going through. And as the pandemic hit, the work of Hull Sisters became even more vital.
Although the centre could no longer run its weekly programme of sewing, cooking and yoga classes, the team has continued to offer English lessons online, and further support for women in every way it can. For the people who come here, Hull Sisters is an invaluable space – a place to be free from danger, discrimination and deprivation – somewhere to be listened to, cared for and valued.
It was, therefore, a monumental blow to the fabric of Hull’s female BAME community when, in December last year, Hull Sisters were evicted from the building they have operated from for the past eight years. With nowhere to go and no funds to move somewhere new, the organisation turned to Hull Council – only to be faced with the harsh reality that the city has no strategy for BAME women.
The council has given Hull Sisters the option of renting the building, but at the cost of £15,000 per year (without gas, electric, water or council tax), it’s simply not a viable option. So the sisters have done the only thing left to do, and taken matters into their own hands. Their GoFundMe page has been running since the end of November, and has received over 150 donations resulting in a rising total of almost £4,000.
The charity’s target of £160,000 might be a long way off, but much-needed support and awareness is beginning to show up for the amazing work they do. WE Leeds is supporting Hull Sisters as they raise money for a new centre – and we’re asking you to do the same. When you donate, your money will go straight towards helping women in hull break free from isolation and overcome human rights issues.
For more immediate support, the group has also set up an Amazon Wishlist, containing the items it’s most in need of. From cereal bars to sanitary towels, soap to teabags, these are the basic necessities that help Hull Sisters offer a lifeline to women every single day. You can browse and buy here, and for the address, just drop a DM to the WEP Leeds or Hull Sisters Twitter, and we’ll be happy to help you out.