BA 2

Latest News/Blog

News of events and activities run by churches that we have visited and supported, and follow up information from CTD events.

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Steph from Free Flow Hull, describing their workshop and activities

On Periods, Period Poverty and responses

On 20th August we held a first conversation on periods. Not solely about period poverty, yet we know this has been making the headlines over the last few years. But on periods more generally.

Our facilitators on the day were a new organisation, 'Free Flow Hull' (read about them in the link above), we heard how they developed a programme and workshops in Hull where they provide spaces for women to talk openly about periods, to share experiences, reflect on some of the taboos and power dynamics of language associated with periods.

As part of the day we experienced the workshop that they currently would do with groups of adults, including the taboos, limitations of current sanitary products available and what the alternatives are, and how they are used.

Questions were raised like: 'Why does the word 'period' need to be avoided, and colloquial terms used instead? (like 'aunt flow visiting', 'on the blob' or 'time of the month')

Where do these phrases come from, and why do they exist?

Steph and Rob shared stories from the workshops they lead, of how women have felt having talked about periods, and been able to make more positive choices regarding the way in which they manage their periods, through using different sanitary products that have less chemicals, and are cheaper and better for the environment in the long run.

Action is required on this... and it feels achievable (attendee feedback)

After lunch the group discussed some of the challenges and difficulties there are when having conversations about periods, including feeling queasy. Cultural factors and social factors were discussed, and talk was that many difficult issues are barely raised in churches (money, relationships etc) and periods is well down that list. Questions were posed about young people and specifically talking about periods in sex education, and how girls are often taken to one side to talk about periods, and boys can be excluded from this knowledge. We weren't sure if this still happens...

Its important to provide long term, not just immediate solutions

Throughout the day the attendees were given time to reflect on what they were learning, and consider how they might develop responses in their local context. A broad range was represented, urban and rural church, national or regional organisation, diocese and deanery responsibility, though sadly no men attended, outside of the CTD team - is this telling? But culture shift will take time. Men, we can do better - cant we?

Further questions were posed in regard to the responses such as :

  1. How might a response preserve human dignity?
  2. How might God be revealed in the response?
  3. How might community gifts be developed?
  4. How might the response tackle injustice?

A number of responses and ideas during the day already captured the essence of these, and each person left with further questions and ideas about this issue, thinking about how they personally or how they in their organisation might develop a response further.

It goes without saying that these conversations and ideas are at an early stage, though a number of the group had already begun developing local responses, and the team at Communities Together Durham are available to support these and new projects where they can.

It was a day that provided good knowledge, understanding and ideas, new angles on issues I was aware of

We are grateful to Free Flow Hull for their input into the day, for their approachable nature, passion and determination to help women (and men) to think about periods in a more positive way, a strength not a weakness, and to make more informed choices in regard to sanitary products. If you would like to hear more about Free Flow Hull, they can be contacted via their website which is here

Other feedback included:

It brought up and helped me be aware of problems and issues young women have
Really engaging session - thank you
Great to think about the environmental issues caused by sanitary products
Good to meet other people passionate about this subject
Really passionate about the subject of periods
BA 2

We have been visiting and supporting some of the fantastic holiday clubs that churches are hosting this summer - here is a bit about one from our friends at Woodhouse Close Church and Bishop Auckland Methodists.

Merci... Tack… Grazie… Danke… Thank you!

From Monday 5th August to Friday 9th August, Bishop Auckland Methodist Church was transformed into a travel bureau for “Backpackers” where there was fun, friendship and food for those attending. Each day, between 2pm and 5pm, the Travel Agent and Tour Guide and Travel Reps looked after over 60 children and young people. After listening to Bible stories, associated with Jesus’ travelling in his final days to Jerusalem, and taking part in games and craft activities in their groups, they all joined together for a hot meal.

The event was run by the Bishop Auckland Fellowship of Christian Churches, in partnership with the Auckland Project. Sports workshops for participants were provided by Leah Kennedy, Development Community Coach from North East Netball and Darren Brown, All Stars Champion from Durham Cricket. These sessions were a high point for many.

On Sunday 11th August we held a Family Celebration and BBQ with over 100 children, parents and volunteers.

Thank you to the Caroline Theobald, Honorary Swedish Consul who helped us with some facts about Sweden. Thank you to local Italian restauranteur, Franco and his brother, Stefano from Casa Nostra, who brought us the Italian flair, and thank you also to Cockney Nick who taught us about ‘Balls of Chalk’ and ‘Frogs and Toads’. Each day taught us to value the culture of the different parts of Europe and Britain that the Backpackers visited.

Thank you also to local supermarkets, businesses and grant funders who have all contributed to making this year’s Holiday Club an ongoing success.

Feedback from those attending and their parents, is overwhelmingly positive, with many people wanting the event to run again next year. Please contact Jenny Prior on bascircuitoffice@gmail.com or 07783946968 if you would like any information.