You know that feeling. As soon as you have done something, you wish you could quickly spin the clock hands back and change your actions.  To change the consequences.

I had that recently when I picked up a bottle of fabric conditioner by the lid. As the lavender flood spread across the kitchen floor, a few choice words came to  mind.  As I mopped it up with towels, I also thought – “So what’s the learning?”  Clearly to put a lid back on securely and double-check before picking up.  Also a gallon of fabric conditioner does indeed make your towels very soft and sweet smelling.

“So, what’s the learning in that?”  My eldest daughter is well used to that term – I frequently say it when both good things and not so good things happen.   There is learning  in everything and everything to be learned.

Inside Outside is a pilot project with a small number of women.  We wanted to do this and alongside the women see what we could learn.  About the realities of women’s lives, about what their needs are, what should happen to support them and other women.  To see as services who work with women, what could we learn.

A support worker from one of the Encompass Services shared this blog post with us about what she has learned from being involved with Inside Outside.

“The Inside Outside Project has shown how powerful art can be in emotional healing. One of the things I have noticed the most about being involved in the project is just how empowering the experience has been for women. The project allows women to look at their experience in a creative way.  The women involved have been given complete autonomy over their story and their input in to the project.  They have also been given the opportunity to look at developing skills in photography alongside a talented photographer.  The women involved have clearly worked extremely hard to get to where they are now and now they have finally been given the opportunity to have their voices heard and most importantly valued. Everything done in the project is for the women, guided by the women. 

Although I work with women 1:1 to increase self-esteem, I have witnessed the significant impact the project has had on women’s confidence. I have had the privilege of supporting a remarkable woman to become involved in the Inside Outside Project.  I had the further privilege to sit in on one of the workshops and found the woman’s strength overwhelming. Having Linda, who had no previous relationship with the woman, tell her that she believes in her, had the power to enable that woman to believe in herself.  A woman who has so much potential has now been empowered to finally see her potential for herself. I have seen the pride that woman feels when taking her own pictures to showcase her story in the way she wants it to be seen.  Women who have previously  felt as though they had nothing are now excited and  feeling enthused and passionate about something again.

This is the way it should be.  Women should always be given the opportunities and control to choose to share their stories and experiences, the way they choose.  As a supporter seeing a woman’s journey through the project has been such a special and overwhelming experience. I cannot praise the work being done enough.

 My hope is that this project will change people’s opinions and start to chip away at out-dated judgements.  Long may this positive, inspiring work continue!”