Greetings from Womenspace

Welcome to our January 2023 Newsletter

A special welcome to new and renewed members of Womenspace: Ann, Bettina, Carolyn, Francis, Gurmeet, Jacqueline, Janette, Jen, Julie & Julie, Kate, Kathryn, Natalie, Robyn, Sam, Sharon, Sophie, Sue and Usha.

The second half of 2022 was very busy due to preparations for the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Womenspace. After the celebration we felt good – and exhausted.

The fourth Newsletter of 2022 was not written, and while our activities were covered by Facebook posts, here is a summary of September – December 2022 and some projection of how we will follow into 2023! It is a longer newsletter than usually, so make yourself a cuppa or pour yourself a glass of something refreshing. When you finish, you might feel like sending us an email to comment, and let us know how you are seeing yourself at Womenspace during this year.

Firstly, congratulations and a big thank you to all who contributed with their ideas, skills, time, donations and magnificent food to our weekend of celebrating the 25th anniversary.

It was such a pleasure to share time with members of the first generation of Womenspace – Carole Cragg and Mary Kenny! They really enjoyed themselves and commented very positively on what we’ve achieved so far.

Our outdoor mural – SPIRAL – was unveiled, and six posters focusing on important events in our history were installed.

Thank you to Councillor Jared Cassidy for sponsorship for our posters, printed by LAVA Print & Design. The invitation to interact and add further information was taken up enthusiastically by many!

To view the posters click on this link https://we.tl/t-eTrgHAsJ0m.

It was a wonderful celebration of a quarter of century! Thank you to all the contributors to the beautiful SPIRAL mural; to members of the creative writing group for sharing their writings; Serena and Emelie for their songs; Amanda Jackes for the inspirational address; and Ann Bermingham for making us sound so good in no time. Our wish to unite in singing became stronger!
 
Let’s keep feeding the energy we created during the celebratory weekend!

More congratulations to the Young Women’s project participants and supporters for not only finishing the short film in time to enter the STUFFit Student Film Festival, but to be shortlisted for an award as well!  A number of students and supporters attended the presentation of our shortlisted film at the Majestic Cinema in Nambour and almost all attended our own screening with a wonderful dinner at Womenspace. We are looking forward to the next stage of the Young Women’s project in 2023, for which we received support from the Kedron-Wavell Community Grant Program.

The AGM on 27 October was well attended. We are pleased to confirm we have three returning members to the 2023 Management Committee: Ann Ingamells, Lynette Hickey and Ludmila Doneman. Kylie Heenan stepped down and we thanked her for her contribution and wish her all the best for the future.

Welcome to the three new members

Julie White, Kate Edmondson and Kim Sambrooks.

Kate: “I came to Womenspace in the middle of 2022 intrigued and prepared to learn. I went first to Wednesday Cuppa and Chat and found a group of women who are open to listening to other women as well as responding with their own ideas.  I enjoyed the laughter. Women know intuitively what they must do to create a supportive community and that knowledge abounds at Womenspace.  When I learnt the Womenspace history and that the original building was gifted by the Presentation nuns who educated me, I realised why Womenspace has me feeling so much at home. Governance was an important part of my professional life and I am pleased to bring these skills to the management committee as a contribution to the ongoing welfare of Womenspace.”

Julie (Jazz):“I enjoy being part of Womenspace and find it to be a nurturing supporting space for women to meet and gather together.  It does a great job in looking for opportunities to host interesting projects for both adult women and school age young women. Womenspace is open to new ideas and suggestions from its members. We encourage women to come along, have fun and enjoy the offerings of the space.  All in the good company of others.”

Kim: “What I found wonderful about Womenspace, was that it provided such a warm, safe and welcoming environment for women to connect, communicate freely and explore creative interests. There are so many benefits to our well-being to be found in connecting with others and participating in group projects. I experienced these benefits for myself and believe this must be the case for other members. As I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Womenspace, I felt that I wanted to stay involved and help contribute to the continued running and growth of this organisation.“

Before we started our summer break we had a wonderful Long Table Dinner on 16th December to celebrate our year together. We shared stories, glorious food, laughter, and support for each other. There was talk about a possible Christmas in July event!

The space looked wonderful, no problem of seating 25 people. Do you know of anyone interested in hiring this space for a friendly family gathering?

2023 here we come!

While we planned the return to all our activities as of 1st February, we had the unexpected opportunity to hear from a local woman who has a great story to tell, but who will be heading overseas shortly.

Please note the unexpected Women Weaving Stories – Meet Madeleine Belfrage, who returns to Mexico at the beginning of February, so Wednesday 25th January, 4.30-6pm is our only opportunity to hear from her.

Madeleine is an activist-researcher and Sandgate local who now lives and works in Mexico. She works with feminist abortion rights activists who assist women to obtain safe and autonomous abortions through community-based practices, often in contexts where it is legally restricted. Madeleine has just finished a PhD in social science at the University of Queensland and is currently working on abortion access research projects in Australia and Mexico, and with feminist networks who operate globally.

How did this Sandgate local find herself working and living in Mexico, how did she get into this unusual area of work, and what compelled her to do PhD research in this area? What has she written about the lives of women in Mexico and what’s next on her agenda?

We look forward to welcoming you at Womenspace. Please RSVP to 0431 112 721 – voice or text message.

On 1st February, 10-11.30am, you are welcome back to our weekly gathering over Cuppa&Chat (for further information see end of this newsletter)

The presenters of Women Weaving Stories #11 (as planned!) on 10 February at 6pm for 6.30 start are two members of Womenspace.

Introducing Jan Hughes and Lisa Elms:


Jan: “Ever since I was small, I have wanted to connect with God. I entered the Sisters of Mercy in Singleton to that end. After twenty- three years I realised I needed another way. The search and connection is continuing.
I learned to be of service in the sisters, as an educator, teacher and school principal. Afterwards I created a business with my companion doing group facilitation and retreats. Upskilling for coaching and facilitation involved some travel to Mexico, South Africa, Swaziland, Indonesia and USA. Over the last ten years I have been working as an online coach, helping people forge their way into their wonderful future.
Betty was my loving companion for fifty-five years. Now, I live with my dear David in Brighton gardening and enjoying this beautiful place.”

Lisa: “My husband and I recently moved to Sandgate to live closer to our four adult children and three grandchildren. I was born in Malaysia and grew up in Brisbane.  Since completing my Registered Nurse Training at The Royal Brisbane Hospital in 1983 and my Psychiatric Nursing Training at the Wolston Park Psychiatric Hospital in 1986 I have worked in metropolitan, rural and remote communities in many Registered Nurse roles. I have retired from nursing and am enjoying time with my husband, family, friends (new and old), creating a productive garden and getting to know this wonderful community. I am an Artist.  For the past 35 years I have dedicated time for painting. I am excited to be continuing my artistic journey, having more time to learn and create truthful, authentic art.”

Womenspace Writing Group

It’s on again, throughout the year, in 4 x 7 week blocks starting:
Thursday 2nd Feb at 12.30-2.30 pm for 7 weeks
Then 20th April, 13th July, 6th October. Time 12.30-2.30pm
Investment: $5.00 per session for members, $10.00 non-members. Can be paid each week or by EFT in one payment (see website for detail).

New people are welcome.

Through 2022, the writing group at Womenspace waxed and waned, but 6 or so people wrote regularly. We call it writing practice, after Natalie Goldberg, who says that to be a writer “just write!”.

Facilitator Ann Ingamells says: We start our writing practice with a topic that suits the day. It might be what’s on our minds, what’s happening locally or with a poem, piece of literature a photo, or just an object – such as “carrots” or “my mother’s hair”.

Then, for 10 minutes we write, letting the words tumble out and the images form as they will. The quest, never simple, is to turn off the busy mind and inner critic and just keep the hand moving, writing whatever comes up. Then we take turns reading what we have written.

The journal quickly fills and after a couple of months you can look back and finesse a piece of your writing that still speaks to you. Reviewing my journal, I found the piece below and recognised that it captures a thought that is still important to me – we share this lovely place to live, with its great sense of community, but how do those of us who have been less affected by the flooding stand in helpful solidarity with those who copped it badly?

Feb 2022

And I wonder about the “we” – the you and I –
neighbours through a flood,
a community of people perched by a moving sea line,
a wetland reclaiming itself.
And, when the drenching abates,
What are we left with?
Sodden piles of unhinged cupboards and sofas
Along sad kerb edges,
panicked cries to flailing insurance companies, sinking
spirits and budgets we can’t shore up.
I want to stand alongside you,
but what can I say?
You, carrying out sodden belongings
as I drive by to work.

Contact Ann Ingamells, 0422136785 ingamellsann@gmail.com

(‘Like everyone, I’m wary of answering calls from people I don’t know, so please send me a text and I’ll call you back’).

The new offering:

WOW: Women Out of (his) control Workshops

Creative empowering playspaces for any woman who has ever experienced abuse. An opportunity to explore your creative genius and playful self, through a range of art-forms such as: poetry & song writing; performance, visual and tactile art; music, singing, painting, drawing, and mask making … whatever YOUR heart desires. Absolutely no experience required.

Dr Kate Costigan, the facilitator, is a highly qualified and experienced social worker

Cost: $45 a session ($20 concession).
Where/When: Womenspace First Tuesday of the month, 9.30-11.00 beginning 7th March. 
Bookings essential: please contact Kate on M: 0400 000 968 E: kcostiga@gmail.com

Thank you for depositing cans and bottles into the bins – every penny counts! AND we have a chance to get few dollars as well.

WOMENSPACE was nominated for the CommBank Community Donation Program.

The Commonwealth Bank is committed to supporting organisations who make a difference. Their Community Donation Program gives local branches the chance to donate $500 to community organisations across Australia, to help them continue their amazing work.  

If enough people vote for us (VERY EASY TO VOTE – no passwords or email address involved), we could receive $500 towards our 2023 activities. Please go to:

https://www.commbank.com.au/.../commbank-community

… and vote now for WOMENSPACE – then share with your family, friends, neighbours, on Instagram and on your dogs’ Facebook!

The voting period of this Program will run until 31 March 2023. Don’t postpone, do it now.

Thank you!

How else can you support womenspace?

Summary of What’s On

  • Wednesday 1st February: WEEKLY Cuppa & Chat 10 – 11.30am with Kaye and Rhyll
  • Thursday 2nd February – 16th March: Womenspace Writing Group 12.30 – 2.30 with Ann Ingamells
  • Friday 3rd February: 3pm Garden Club with Rhyll and 5.30pm Create & Chat with Kaye
  • Tuesday 7th February: 7pm Book Club with Linda
  • Friday 10th February: 6pm for 6.30 start – 10th Women Weaving Stories with Jan Hughes and Lisa Elm
  • Friday 24th February: 10am Book Club with Rhyll and Kaye
  • Tuesday 7th March: 9.30 – 11am WOW Playspaces with Kate
  • WATCH THIS SPACE! – for yoga updates in 2023