The Women’s Centre was born out of a huge social need within the local area of Stockport. In 1999 a NSPCC social worker and a qualified psychotherapist set up a group working with women where there had been sexual abuse in the family. The project supported by the NSPCC was called the ‘AFTA club’. As the work expanded it was acknowledged that there was a need for a local and accessible centre, which specialised in providing services for women surviving poverty, social exclusion and emotional trauma consequent to sexual and/or domestic abuse. Led by Pat Megram, the ‘AFTA club’ became Stockport Women’s Centre and in March 2001, was established as an independent charity.
Although much has changed since 2001, preventative and holistic support for the woman is still a focus. The Women’s Centre now offers a full range of services that stay true to our vision – to be acknowledged, respected and valued by the local community, and beyond, as the leading provider of innovative support services and therapeutic treatments for women.
Our services and activities have been developed in response to the expressed needs of the women; we work with and gaps in service provision which are offered within an ethos of valuing all women by listening, caring and encouraging. Our aim is to improve self-esteem and confidence which, in turn, promotes good mental health in a safe and non-clinical environment.
All activities and services provided to the women are built upon through an assessment of need and supported by a multi-skilled team including social workers, counsellors, psychotherapists, complementary therapists, support workers, careers advisors, probation workers and include:
One to one work with women who are in need of extra support
Counselling and psychotherapy
Advice and support
Access to information and sign-posting
At any one time, there are around 60 women who offer their time and support as volunteers. The opportunity of volunteering allows women not only to learn and develop but also allows women to give something back to the wider community.
Meet The Team
We have a dedicated team of paid staff, sessional workers and volunteers consisting of:
Executive Board of Trustees, whose members endorse the strategic and policy framework for the organisation, ensure financial viability and ensure compliance with all legislative and statutory duties. The board currently comprises:
Chairperson - Kay Day
Kay Day joined the centre as a trustee in 2016. Kay retired from the University of Manchester in 2016 having worked there for over 30 years. She has a wide range of managerial and administrative experience and hopes that her organisational skills can be used in assisting the centre to run successfully.
Clare Sorrell is a solicitor in family law with Ayres Waters Solicitors in Stockport. Clare specialises in representing parties involved in court proceedings concerning children, divorce, cohabitation and issues of domestic abuse. In 2007, Clare was appointed as a trustee and provides a free legal advice service in family law at the Centre on the last Friday of each month. She was appointed as Chairperson in 2014.
Heather Hoy is a project & facilities manager for an electrical distribution company and has worked in the industry for the past 31 years in a number of roles. Her work includes facilities management & project works associated with offices & depots throughout the northwest. Heather was appointed as a trustee in 2009.
Information coming soon.
Hilary Scott joined the Centre as a trustee in 2009. With a marketing and planning background, Hilary has focused her efforts on devising and implementing a fundraising strategy for the Centre. Hilary commented, “seeing the work delivered at the Centre makes me more determined to raise more money so we can help more women.”
Information coming soon.
Barbara Swann OBE
Barbara Swann OBE was one of the first members of SWC, starting as a trustee in 2001 and then elected as chair in 2003. Barbara has remained in this position until 2014. Having spent a lifetime in the NHS and as a Public Health practitioner Barbara is passionate about women’s issues and brings a health perspective and strategic planning skills.
Lisa Dolling is a GP in Tameside where she is senior partner in a busy practice. She has a variety of special interests including women’s and mental health. She became a trustee in April 2018.
Nikki is responsible for the day to day management and development of the Centre.
Katie, the Business Administrator, and Rita, the APR Administrator ensure that the Centre operates 9-5, Mon – Fri and run the day-to-day administration and are supported by 10 administration volunteers.
Counselling and Psychotherapy Manager
Billie organises our team of volunteer counsellors and psychotherapists, providing caseload supervision and support, consistent and high-quality assessment of client need, and monitoring and evaluating service standards. Billie also supports students on counselling placements. Andrea is currently covering maternity leave for Billie, covering a team of around 25 volunteer counsellors and psychotherapists.
Amanda is a qualified social worker and responsible for safety planning, risk assessment and safeguarding, case management and advocacy for service users. She manages and supports volunteers in the delivery of the Centre’s domestic abuse services, the complementary therapy programme and all other activities. As a practice educator, Amanda supports students on social work placements.
Women’s Senior Caseworker
Lorraine supports the Services Manager, taking a lead in the drop-in, and plays a pivotal role in offering direct support to women at the Centre.
Taz, Marie and Maritxu make up the rest of the team of caseworkers, all of whom offer 1-1 support to women.
Online cCBT at Home with Telephone Support
Gemma coordinates a computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) at home service for Stockport residents.
Sandra ensures that that Centre stays spic and span.
We have around 50 local women who volunteer at the Centre, including counsellors and psychotherapists with experience of brief and long term therapy, who work with different counselling models. 10 administration volunteers support the Administrators in the delivery of efficient procedures and front of house functions and yet more volunteers who play a vital role in the delivery of other services, including drop-in workers, qualified complementary therapists, art and craft facilitators and a life coach. We also have a volunteer art therapist and hypnotherapist.
Some of the agencies we work with include Stockport Without Abuse, Stockport and District Mind, Self Help Services, Targeted Prevention Alliance, Pennine Care, Greater Manchester Police, National Probation Service, Cheshire and Greater Manchester Rehabilitation Company, Change Grow live, Manchester Rape Crisis and Stockport Clinical Commissioning Group.
Stockport Women's Centre is a BACP accredited service and as such we adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions. Details of the framework can be found here.