In many rural areas around Scotland, women are often isolated and lack access to supportive spaces where they can connect with others and learn new skills. Now add to that a Cost of Living Crisis, with families finding it hard to heat their homes or have enough money to spend on a cup of coffee with a friend. Women particularly have found it difficult to get out and socialise again after the pandemic and it's more often the mother that stays at home with little ones. So we decided to create a community-driven initiative to create a safe and welcoming space for women in the Skye & Lochalsh area to come together and support one another. This initiative was the Women's Warm Hub Sharing Cafe, which was a community-led project that has been successful in providing a space for women to gather, learn, and connect.
The Women's Warm Hub Sharing Cafe was started because as women living in a rural area we recognised the need for a safe and welcoming space for women of all ages to be able to come together in their community. The hub was run by The Selkie Collective team and we are passionate about creating a place where women can come together and share their skills and experiences.
The hub provides a variety of services and resources for women in the community. One of the main offerings of the hub was a snacks and hot drinks, which are available for free to all women who visited. This provided a comfortable and welcoming environment for women to gather and connect over a cup of tea or coffee.
In addition to providing a comfortable space for women to gather, the Women's Warm Hub Sharing Cafe also offered skill-sharing sessions. These sessions were led by local women who have experience or expertise in various areas, such as cooking, gardening, or crafts. Through these sessions, women can learn new skills and share their own knowledge with others in the community.
The success of the Women's Warm Hub Sharing Cafe is due in large part to the community-led approach of the cafe, local women sharing their skills, and everyone helping out together. Rather than being driven by outside organizations or individuals, the hub is run by local women who are passionate about supporting their community. This has created a sense of ownership and investment among the women who use the hub, and has helped to ensure its sustainability. Even after funding has finished a core group of women have found such value in coming together weekly that we have together managed to secure the space and enabled it to continue into the future.
The impact of the Women's Warm Hub Sharing Cafe on the community has been significant. Women who use the hub report feeling more connected to others in the community, and have developed new friendships and support networks. They also report feeling more confident in their abilities, thanks to the skills they have learned through the skill-sharing sessions.
The success of the Women's Warm Hub Sharing Cafe is a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives to create positive change. By providing a safe and welcoming space for women to gather, learn, and connect, the hub has made a significant impact on the lives of rural women in the community. Its success is a reminder that when we come together to support one another, we can create lasting change and make a real difference in the world.