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North Highland Women's Wellbeing Hub receives nearly £7000 in funding from Dounreay


By Jean Gunn

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The North Highland Women't Health Hub has a new open Facebook page.
The North Highland Women't Health Hub has a new open Facebook page.

A group keen to stamp out the stigma and taboo surrounding women's health is gaining strength and providing much-needed support locally.

Caithness health campaigner Kirsteen Campbell, chair of the recently constituted North Highland Women's Wellbeing Hub, said: "It is amazing how much everything has just taken off – it is really what we want to do."

A new open Facebook page was created for the hub at the beginning of this month with the aim of keeping everybody up-to-date with what the group is doing.

Within the hub there are also three closed support groups – Endometriosis North Highland, North Highland Women's Health Support Group and the North Highland Menopause Group.

Kirsteen, who received the volunteer of the year award at Highland Heroes 2022, co-runs the hub along with Rebecca Wymer, who is the vice-chair, and Claire Clark who has taken on the roles of secretary and treasurer.

"All of us are using our lived experiences to push for change," the chair said. "Our main purpose is to provide support for our group members. We want to stamp out the stigmas and taboo around women's health. We want to work with everyone and we are campaigning for change."

They also aim to raise awareness of what local women want and get conversations going which they feel are desperately needed.

Kirsteen Campbell is the chair of the hub, with Rebecca Wymer as vice-chair and Claire Clark, secretary/treasurer.
Kirsteen Campbell is the chair of the hub, with Rebecca Wymer as vice-chair and Claire Clark, secretary/treasurer.

Kirsteen said: "We are really excited this week because we have received funding from Dounreay. We are delighted to get this money as we have a really good working relationship with Dounreay."

The awareness campaign received a total of £6989 which will go towards the provision of support, including the production of some leaflets for distribution, help with volunteer travel costs and teas at support groups, as well as the setting up of a Zoom account for online sessions.

Kirsteen sits on other groups involved with menstrual education and menopause which allows her to feedback information about the rural areas covered by the hub. She is among those pushing to see menstrual education change in the Highlands.

The local health campaigners started out with the endometriosis group back in January last year, with the other two formed more recently. Commenting on the endometriosis group, Kirsteen said: "We have really helped a lot of women – it has made a huge impact."

Local women have been able to open up during conversations and share tips, with support provided while waiting for surgery or test results.

The first menopause blether at the Mackays Hotel in Wick attracted 15 women who were able to talk openly and share some laughter along with understanding. "We had some really good conversations going in that," said Kirsteen. "The feedback was good."

The campaigners have been busy doing cross party working and meeting with MPS as they build up good relationships with other groups.

Kirsteen and Claire will have a stand at the County Show in Thurso next week. A wellbeing walk is also in the pipeline.


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