This International Women’s Day, Cornwall VSF asked the sector to nominate inspiring women and we were blown away by the response. 85 nominations arrived in our inbox. Women in Cornwall like to rise by lifting others. Each day throughout this week we will feature one of the inspirational stories we received, and we will list all nominations at the end of the week.

We created roundup of what’s happening in Cornwall for International Women’s Day.

We salute all women in the sector, many of whom have had caring responsibilities alongside the marvellous work they do in our communities. The diversity in nominations includes women who have fed, cared for and delivered to those in need during the pandemic. It also includes women whose work is to empower others and challenge , creating a new type of leadership and a more equal Cornwall. It includes women who are so dedicated to their volunteers that they shifted the limelight across to them!

Adie Dove: Kick Back Street Kids/ Break the Cycle

Cornwall Voluntary Sector forum is delighted to showcase the women who make our communities. Here is Adie Dove from Break the Cycle

Trauma needs to be processed and worked through to heal and break unhealthy habits, behaviours and cycles of abuse. We use positive outlets to work through and heal or alternatively  turn to negative outlets (such as drugs and alcohol misuse) to mask trauma and continue these cycles of abuse, life of crime and self destruct.

Adie Dove, Break the Cycle
Inspired by Johann Hari and his work with lost connections; I truly do believe the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection and creativity- music is something that can connect us all..  This project is the positive outlet that can be used to break the cycle.

Adie is an extraordinary young woman who is involved in several projects to support children and young people in Cornwall.

Adie’s newest collaboration is ‘Breaking the Cycle’. Founded by Adie, this is now linked with The Granary studio. Its fundamental aims seek to engage with young aspiring artists that are ‘hard to reach’. These may be people with a history of offending, victims of abuse, struggles with mental health and drug/alcohol addictions. The ultimate goal is to provide opportunity of redirection through music and the arts; to provide support through the whole process from professional creation to processing past trauma. 

The project has been ongoing as a pilot whilst adhering to the Covid government guidelines and has shown the most incredible results. 

Adie was nominated for the amazing work she does and for being a role model to young people in Cornwall.

She is a  really inspiring and positive young person with tremendous energy, empathy and commitment. She is only 23 and is already seen as a leader in the community. She has taken her projects online through COVID, and has also got involved in distributing food to those in need in and around Bodmin.

She is very humble and doesn’t seek reward or attention for her efforts but she is a hugely positive role model for the children and young people.

Adie’s nominator highlights her commitment to children and young people in Cornwall

El Warren: BF Adventure

El has led the transformation of BF Adventure’s service delivery, establishing a clear team ‘value’ set and journey of change for our young people. She has overseen the professionalism of services, led on impact reporting and has worked tirelessly to support fundraising and bid writing to allow the continuation and development of services through incredibly challenging times. In her own time El is a tireless advocate of youth work, mentors and trains new youth workers and campaigns for the future of open access services for young people.
She is a shining star.

Caroline Segole: Cornwall Mind

Caroline’s nominator recognised her for bringing people together. They said, “Caroline leads the music group run by Mind which is aimed at improving people’s mental well-being. Caroline is very supportive of old and new members and welcomes them with a big smile. She integrates new members smoothly and provides the right level of support to that person. Caroline includes everyone, always asking people to input. She really brings out the best in people but is also skilled at working with people when they are not feeling so well. During the lockdown she has always stayed in touch and run the group on Zoom, ever persevering with the limitations of the virtual world! I nominated Caroline because I believe she truly has gone the extra mile to make sure that people have at least one thing that is good in their lives, that being the joy of coming together to enjoy music. She does that with her warm personality shining through.”

Kirstie Edwards: Plastic Free Falmouth

Kirstie Chooses to Challenge people to take pride in their local community by helping to rid the world of needless plastic. Motivating volunteers, she leads with kindness and empathy. She also runs a business which turn recycled plastic into beautiful jewellery.

Her nominator said, “Kirstie is an inspiration. She runs Plastic Free Falmouth and a raft of other environmentally focused groups, CICs and more. She believes in empowering communities to take responsibility for their own areas and building networks of fantastic people.”

Jackie Goldie: Cornwall Deaf Community Cafe

Fundraising in Cornwall is done tirelessly by women in the voluntary sector

Jackie was nominated by Claire from Hearing Loss Cornwall for the super work she does for the deaf community in Cornwall.

Claire said, “Jackie is a phenomenal person. She runs the Cornwall Deaf Community Centre, which is a vital hub for D/deaf people offering companionship, learning resources, delicious meals, and many social events for people who can’t dial a friend. During Covid the club has been closed but Jackie has done shopping, ensured vital communication support and advocacy for the d/Deaf, and collected vital food supplies from the Foodbank and ensured that this was delivered to the right people. She is literally “open all hours” to care, voluntarily, for the needs of the people who she values so much. Jackie offers her very special own brand of “lifeline” to d/Deaf people in her community.”

I’ve been involved with the deaf community for many years as I have a daughter who is profoundly deaf.  Over the years I have seen just how difficult life can be for some deaf people.  It is a hidden disability and for many whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL), life can be a struggle accessing information.  Most profoundly deaf people rely on the wonderful Interpreters Cornwall have. They provide a vital link between the hearing and deaf world.  Even a simple phone call can be difficult for many.  Cornwall Deaf Centre holds social events, Sunday lunches and lunch clubs. Jackie said, “These are so important – not only do the members get a 3 course meal they also get to be around other deaf people, can communicate freely using BSL. Many of our members live alone or with hearing family and the Centre offers a place where they can be with their deaf friends.  It’s the only Centre for deaf people in Cornwall”.

Covid 19 has meant the Centre has closed for events, leaving many of the deaf community isolated.   Picking up a phone and calling our family and friends during lockdown is something, we as hearing people take for granted.  Deaf people are unable to do this, and living in Cornwall many live in rural areas where the internet is poor.  Some of the older members have no access to the internet, cutting them off completely.  

Sarah Jane Perrins: The Dreadnought Centre

“2020 and the global pandemic presented tough challenges for the Charity and I could not be more proud of the truly amazing team at The Dreadnought Centre who have embraced the radical changes introduced to our service delivery; with a desire to continue to offer support for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, their only focus.”

Monique Collins: Drop In and Share Centre (DISC, Newquay)

Monique’s story is inspiring because she chooses to challenge stigma around needing help. Her nominator said, “Monique through her work at DISC has always been a passionate and tireless advocate for homeless and those struggling financially in the Newquay area. When the pandemic, hit Cornwall experienced a surge in street homelessness. As part of the housing response, Cornwall Council provided additional emergency housing in caravan parks, hotels and pop up cabin sites. Monique and her team of volunteers at DISC provided meals and supplies for over 100 households at one point on top of what they were already providing for the people of Newquay. Monique and the team provided an essential lifeline to our homeless households when it was needed most. Under Monique, DISC is not just about food and meals. The service also provides a much needed community hub for people and services to come together. It provides assistance for a range of issues including health, debt advice, school uniforms to name a few. No-one cold have brought it together through sheer will and worked so hard during a global pandemic to look after as many people as she could as Monique. She is a shining example to us all.”

She said, “A lot of people ask me why do I do this. I do it because I want to empower as many people as I can. I want them to feel good about themselves. There is no need to struggle and I choose to challenge the stigma around being embarrassed to ask for help.
 
A lot of our volunteers come to us initially for help and then want to give back. They gain their confidence back and we as a team are I feel a real force to be reckoned with.
 
There is no I in our team and we have become a family. All we want to do is help those that need it and from any walk of life.”