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Physical Empowerment CIC: Our Second Year

Physical Empowerment CIC celebrated our second-year anniversary in March 2023. So much has happened; we have run several new courses with women who have lived through domestic abuse, we have built new relationships with multiple community partners in Port Talbot, we have joined the Taibach Community Education Centre team, we held various open days and ran sessions for different community groups. We have been lucky enough to receive grants from various funders, without which it would not be possible to do the work we do and we are extremely grateful for every penny. We have laughed, we have cried and most of all, we have been constantly amazed by the strength and resilience of the women we work with.

The easiest way to sum the second year up is going to be some bullet points so here we go!

  • In December 2022, we completed our project with Streetlight UK, working with their staff and volunteers who support women in prostitution. This project idea started in early 2021 so it was wonderful to receive funding from The Allen Lane Foundation and put the ideas into practice. We provided online and face-to-face training for the Streetlight UK team and then created a training video and workbook so they can take what they’ve learned directly to the women they work with.

  • In August 2022, we received funding from Dyfed Powys Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner and subsequently ran open days in Carmarthenshire, including one in a yurt! We then took referrals from Threshold DAS and ran our first course in Carmarthenshire, based in Llanelli. 50% of the women who attended were in refuge and all of the women did incredibly well. The feedback and results were hugely positive and Threshold have said they are very keen to have Physical Empowerment as a referral pathway moving forward.

  • We were so happy to receive funding from The National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All in August 2022. This meant we were able to renovate a room we adopted at Taibach Community Education Centre and buy all the kit required to make it a safe, comfortable place to train. The room took a lot of renovating and the teamwork to get it done included a lot of paint scraping and laughter. We have our own Bob dummy which allows us to practice realistic training drills safely. Some of the group’s children decorated one of the walls during their holidays and it makes us smile every time we see it.

  • We pay regular rental on this room which has been covered by the Awards for All, Mynydd Brombil Wind Farm Community Fund, The Waterloo Foundation and CVS NPT funding over the last year, so a big THANK YOU to all of them.

  • Having this permanent training room has meant we have been able to run regular, weekly follow-up sessions for women who have completed a course with us. It also means women have a safe space which they know they can use at any time during opening hours. For some women this feels like the only safe space they have and it means a lot. They can bring their children during holidays and know that they are always welcome.

  • We received a small grant from CVS Neath Port Talbot in summer 2022 which we used to run some focus groups with teenagers and train up volunteers who were keen to run courses with teenagers dealing with anxiety and depression, often as a result of witnessing domestic abuse.

  • We received a discretionary grant from The Waterloo Foundation in December 2022 which has helped us to insure, DBS check and train our volunteer team and also pay for resources and training for two of our women specifically. One is training in Indian Head Massage and social media, the other now has the resources required to set up a regular craft group at the centre. This funding, alongside some of our other funding, has also allowed us to run a third course in Port Talbot, with another group of inspiring women, which started in January 2023.

  • We registered four volunteers in Port Talbot, three of whom are women who have completed a course with us. The team is growing organically and we firmly believe, “your vibe attracts your tribe”. Our tribe are positive, motivated and keen to empower others.

  • We ran several sessions with Age Connects groups across the county. These were a great success and we got some wonderful feedback, most importantly: “I have realised I am never too old to protect myself.” They have asked us to come back and run more of these sessions moving forward. The women who have completed a course with us ran these sessions alongside us which was absolutely awesome to see and showcased the true meaning of empowerment.

  • Jenny and Philippa became Directors of Community Ventures Port Talbot CIC which is responsible for Taibach Community Education Centre and two other centres. We worked closely with the other directors to submit a heritage funding application for the building and are also working with them to apply for funding for a back-to-work café and education room at the centre. Through this we have met countless interesting people and organisations in the Neath Port Talbot area and forged some great working relationships with people such as Menter Iaith NPT.

  • We ran open days and held meetings, in our fabulous room, for mature social work students from NPT college, South Wales Police & Crime Commission VAWG (Violence Against Women & Girls) team, MP Stephen Kinnock, his photographer Josh, representatives from Thrive and representatives of women’s rights groups in Wales.

  • We purchased five hearts from the #Womanchester campaign which handmakes hearts every year, one to represent each woman (on record) killed by a man in the UK. We proudly display these hearts in our room and also planted seeds they sent us so the women who lost their lives too soon can continue to grow with us in our room.

  • Our website guru, Sarah, at With Hindsite Ltd. has continued to manage our website which now has a full members area where ladies who have attended a course can log-in and access extra training videos and resources as well as information from their specific course. There is also a staff / volunteer area on the website where important information can be accessed. We are very proud of our website and appreciate the work Sarah puts into upkeeping it. We put an allowance for website upkeep into every grant we apply for.

  • Our five directors met regularly throughout the year and keep in touch outside of meetings regularly to discuss updates and how things are progressing. Thank you to all of them.

So, that is the bullet points for April 2022 – March 2023! Wow. What a lot can happen in a year. We continue to constantly evaluate everything we do and get feedback from the women we work with at every stage so we ensure what we offer is as relevant to the women as possible. The positive results of watching men and women work together to heal trauma never ceases to amaze us. Giving women back the confidence to interact with men and understand that there are good men out there is one of the most important things we do. This is a large part of helping women regain their independence, self-belief and trust in their gut instinct.

We are constantly working to achieve our four aims:

  1. To help people reintegrate into society through helping them to empower themselves.

  2. To give people opportunities to be the best they can be.

  3. To promote men and women working together to end violence.

  4. To create a wider awareness of the use of self-defence as a trauma rehabilitation tool.

We want to thank all of the funders who believe in what we do and fund us so we can do it, our team and volunteers who work so hard, the women who trust us enough to attend our courses and all the people who are working hard to end violence against women and girls.

Philippa Scannell, April 2023

If you'd like to talk to us, join one of our courses or are in need of our help, please contact us!


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