Building confidence in women through Safer & Stronger Communities project

Helping women and girls be and feel safe in their communities has been the focus of free self-defence classes in Hadley, Telford where more than 40 women have now taken part.

Building confidence in women through Safer & Stronger Communities project

The classes held at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara temple in Hadley, were delivered as part of the Safer and Stronger Communities Project, which is led by Telford & Wrekin Council in partnership with Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Campion. 

The project will have funded five separate course by the end of the first round and to date, more than 180 attendees have now been taught the modern close quarter combative (CQC) method of self-defence, developed by military, police and martial arts practitioners which prepares people for real life encounters. The sessions, taught by volunteers are all free of charge for women and girls aged 12+ to attend.

Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, Councillor Paul Watling (Lab), said: “We want all women in our community to have access to self-defence sessions. We know that some women’s feelings about fear are so habitual that they are normalised.  

“As a council we are making sure there is practical support for women, helping reduce feelings of anxiety and boosting confidence while also working closely with Police as we know the pandemic and cost of living crisis all impact on crime.

“Self-defence classes provide a safe place and expert support, allowing women and girls to explore new techniques - it’s not always about physical strength - and there are lots of ways to avoid situations or deescalate a confrontation.

Volunteer Bill Gilmour, who leads the sessions, said: “A lot of it is about building confidence, giving women the power to not be victims, regardless of their age, strength, size or fitness. 

“After just three sessions, we have already noticed a big difference in confidence, awareness and ability.”

PCC John Campion said: “Violence against women and girls is one of the biggest concerns in our society today. These sessions are just one example of how I am investing, in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council, to give people some skills and confidence to be and feel safer. 

“There is always more that can be done, and I continue to invest in victim services, hold the Chief Constable accountable to ensure tackling this issue is a priority and by working in communities to change unacceptable behaviours in our society.”

Telford & Wrekin Council have contributed £2.5 million to the overall project, with an additional £500,000 invested from the PCC, over the next two years. 

Around 120 women have completed the courses that have been held at Woodside, Malinslee, Ketley, Randlay and Hadley. 

The next sessions are being held at the Carpenter Family Centre in Overdale from November 9 for three weeks. Each lesson lasts two hours and starts at 6.45 pm.

In the New Year, classes will also be held at Lawley Community Centre from January 9 at 7pm.

To book the next event in Overdale, please click this link.