December 23 2007

Bridgend Women’s Aid – The Next Step

Women's Aid Film

“It’s helped me realise that I’m not the only one, who…after so many years, still feels the pain about the past.”

Project participant

Video Worker Katja Stiller and Drama Worker Alison O’Connor are currently running an innovative project with Bridgend Women’s Aid called The Next Step. Most of the participants in the project have experienced domestic abuse, and many have spent time living in refuges. The project aims to give these women a safe space to reflect on their experiences and to express their feelings about their situations. The group meets once a week and uses a combination of drama, film and creative exercises to share stories and experiences and to have fun.

When asked about what they feel the sessions are giving them, one participant replied simply “Release”.

Other women commented:

“I know that I am not alone, I feel part of a community of women, I have learnt to listen to others’ stories.”
” The workshops helped me to get out and to get things off my chest.”
“I can talk freely and relax for a little while.”
“I have enjoyed it all the time – it got me out of the flat and mixing with others again.”

The women we are working with are enjoying the opportunity to have fun, play some games and just chat with other adults as a welcome relief. Both Katja and Alison are enjoying the project a great deal, and are constantly humbled by the courage and honesty of the group members. This first stage of the project will culminate in small, informal sharing to an invited audience in December. It is hoped that this work may be able to continue in the New Year, as we believe it is vital for women who have survived abuse to have access to high quality creative opportunities which may help them in the process of moving on with their lives.