Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham




Women's Health in South Tyneside

W.  H.  I.  S.  T.




  • Friday, 27 March, 2015
  • Dear Friends
  • An Organisation of Women


Interconnected.  It's been years since I found myself in the pleasant company of so many women. In fact, I am today reminded of the early 1980s when I (an innocent abroad) strayed off the beaten track and into an Open University 'Women's Studies Course' at Warwick University. My life changed - no going back (ever). Shakespeare got it absolutely right when he wrote, 'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Beautiful minds.  Reminiscences (and unintended consequences) aside, I am in my element from the moment I walk through the automatic doors of the new and improved WHIST building in the lovely coastal town of South Shields. There are beautiful women and smiling faces everywhere; even the walls are hung with wondrous reminders of 'the journey' this organisation of women has travelled over the thirty years of its decidedly colourful existence.

Dreams come true.  We were celebrating, not only a doubling in size of the WHIST premises, but so much more!  I can't even begin to tell you ... maybe it's enough to say that the white, green and purple of my blog just happens to echo the white, green and purple 'colours' of the Suffragette Movement which set us women in an entirely new path - politically, economically and socially.  In other words, women got 'The Vote'.

The gold standard.  A gold standard was set in times long gone, this by a new wave of courageous, strong women, such as those I met today.  Their vision and influence has spread to every corner of the globe, a trend that continues to ripple out across India, Africa, China - anywhere and everywhere we find women and their daughters working, living, laughing, crying, loving.  Lest we forget, I am speaking here of women's emancipation:

  • Equality ...
  • Justice ...
  • Fairness ...

The 1918 Representation of the People Act gave women of property over the age of 30 the right to vote – not all women, therefore, could vote – but it was a major start.

A magic spell.  In honour of flickering shadows from a half-remembered, half-forgotten past and in honour of the good folk I encountered in South Shields today, I pull myself back to the present to consult with WHIST's Annual Report 2013-2014. This was quietly added to my stash of handouts by my host and guide for the day. I see you, as if for the first time.  Thank you, JT.  

Safe hands.  Although my conversation with Ruth Berkley, the Chair of WHIST was brief, I know intuitively (and in an instant) that the fortunes of WHIST are in safe hands.  I quickly learn that Ruth Berkley's busy day job takes her out and about the North of England as Unison's Regional Women's Officer, Regional Media Liaison Officer, and Regional Policy Officer.  As said - safe hands.

Letter from the Chair.  "We have made significant progress over the year including ensuring our sustainability, developing projects and improving partnership working.

"The year got off to a good start when we secured a Garfield Western grant for core funding. This enabled us to make further applications and we have been successful in securing funding from a number of funders and commissioners to support business development and future sustainability of the charity.

"We have supported 276 new members this years as well as well as the existing membership and demands for support continue to increase.  To address this, we are delighted to report that we have secured a grant from the Big Lottery Fund Buildings to extend the building into the premises next door  It will provide two more training rooms, individual consultation rooms and office space.  This will enable us to increase the diversity of women involved and to strengthen future partnership working.

"The asthma project is reaching its end and will be fully evaluated.  Feedback has shown it to be successful and it has been commented on by statutory agencies as being a model of good practice.

"Fundraising by volunteers and members has been a great success this year with over £10,000 being raised through events such as a member running the Edinburgh marathon, sponsored events, raffles and line dancing events.  Thank you to all concerned. ..."  RUTH BERKELY, WHIST Chair.

WHIST was established in 1986 and now has a membership of over 3,000. The organisation supports over 250 different women a week to become more independent and to feel empowered to make decisions that affect their life choices.  To this end, services offered by WHIST include:  

  • Complementary Therapies
  • Counselling
  • Creche
  • Exercise
  • Information, Advice and Guidance
  • Library
  • Personal Development Courses
  • Peer Support
  • Support Groups
  • Training Courses
  • Volunteering

Good news.  WHIST has developed a holistic, integrated model of service delivery, providing a wide range of mental, physical and emotional support in South Tyneside. For many and varied historic/social/political/economic reasons, this award-winning charity is seen as providing an essential service for women; indeed, WHIST is obviously part of the very fabric of  the community, hereabouts.

Fresh eyes.  As an outsider looking in, I view WHIST as an organisation of women to be supported, cherished, respected, and emulated. Unique (maybe); special (certainly).  A heart-rending case study in the Annual Report begins with these brave, telling words: 

"Getting help here has turned my life around.  I was at rock bottom.  I dread to think what I would be like if I hadn't come to WHIST."


Everyone has a story to tell. 

What's yours?  



See WILLPOWER for the story of my early life as
a Durham coal miner's daughter and what I learnt 
at my mother's knee RE equality, truth & justice.

Click on link below:





Tel: 0191 454 6959

Website: www.whist.org.uk




Check out this beautiful video on YouTube:



Marian Moore, BA/BSc (Open) CertEd 
Wellbeing Consultant/writer/speaker
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.     


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