The Centre has two paid co-ordinators who carry out the business of the Centre and the decisions made by a group of women called the Collective. We are non hierarchical and so decision making is by consensus which, for those not familiar with the term, means that all those involved have a discussion until general agreement is reached and a decision made. All women are welcome to join the Collective. We meet monthly and while we get through the business we usually manage to fit in a good laugh.
The Women's Centre provides a central meeting place, open to all Women and their children, to obtain information, education and support. We aim to promote self esteem, empowerment and creativity. Our work is also to raise awareness of the issues affecting women e.g. violence, rape, sexual abuse and health. We believe women benefit from raised awareness and increased understanding of particular issues, their knowledge is empowering, they are able to make more informed choices for themselves and their children, they can improve their personal safety and financial security. We aim to provide choices to women depending on their needs and equity of access to all our services.
We are providing a valuable service to the women of Upper Hutt. The services provided are in direct response to needs identified by women in the community which includes low cost counselling, free preganacy tests, free legal advice, support groups and recycled clothing.
Courses and workshops offered at the Centre include; Self Esteem and Personal Development, Self Defence, Life Coaching, Positively Menopausal, Natural Fertility, Relationship Separation, English as a Second Language, Belly Dancing, Tai Chi, Beginners Sign Language and Basic Car Maintenance. These are a few of our courses and workshops, we endeavour to offer any courses or workshops that are requested by women in our community. Please see our section on courses and workshops for more information.
We are a non profit organisation so we rely on grants, private donations and fund-raising activities to keep going. Our big funding organisations are COGS, EM Pharazyn Trust, F Muter Trust, R McKenzie, Lotteries Commission, NZCT, NZ Post, Pelorus Trust, Rimutaka Trust, TG McCarthy, Upper Hutt City Council enables us to keep costs down for all women who attend any events that we run at the centre and this is part of our philosophy of providing accessible options for women.
Our major Fundraising event is the annual Rimutaka Trust Upper Hutt Spring Festival which is held in September each year. For more information on this event, please see our section on the festival.
One of our more important services is the Drop In Centre 9.00am - 2.00pm Monday to Friday. The woman who first voiced the ides of a Women's Centre in Upper Hutt talked about how when she needed support she felt there was nowhere that suited her, she didn't belong to a church and she didn't feel she could call on the few friends she had so where did that leave her. More importantly she didn't want to be judged. Our society has changed a lot over time, people in general are more isolated, where before neighbours hung over the fence to chat and families and extended family supported each other that doesn't seem to happen quite as much. There are a lot more women raising children alone. Also women are out in the paid work force more, many be choice, some not by choice but because it's a more survivalbe option and others because there isn't a lot of value placed on mothering at home. A Women's Centre is the perfect place for that to happen. The volunteers are there if needed to provide support and information or referral if necessary. We have a whole range of information, pamphlets, booklets, flyers, posters on may activities, health, parenting, sexual abuse, contraception, domestic violence etc.
Other services include low cost counselling, free pregnancy testing, free condoms, free legal advice, recycled clothing cupboard and also a library of which there are books to borrow.
We are child-friendly with a toy box, however we realise that the centre is limited in what it can offer women with children.