The Women & Families Resource Centre was initially started in 2006 with a group of friends who came together socially once a month to share their experiences and support each other. It was formerly called African Women of Substance. The organisation operated as a social entity where women from diverse backgrounds had the opportunity to meet new people, make friends, and practice conversational English. Many women benefitted from the relaxed social environment, which enabled them to discuss concerns and share advice about health, parenting and adjusting to life in the UK.

In 2008, we decided to open these services to other African women in the community as we realised how much this service was needed. We then ran as a community based organisation offering support and information services to women and their families. We became a registered charity in 2009 as we grew bigger and broadened the work and services we provide.

Although we’d been known as ‘African Women of Substance’ for a long time, we found that our name didn't reflect what we do, everyone we work with and our changing community. It didn't reflect our goals to be inclusive, to promote social cohesion and to expand internationally. Although we have expertise and vast experience in dealing with Africans and other ethnic minority groups, we have never confined our activities and services to support this group only. Our services have always been free to any woman or child, regardless of race, culture or religion who is facing similar barriers or problems. One of our strategic goals for 2016 was to improve our reach, our reputation and our brand. In all we do we seek to prevent exclusion by bringing families and communities together to build bridges, understanding and respect between them.

 

Our organisation has a heritage. We transform lives, inspire individuals, change communities and we deliver all this through the dedication of our trained and passionate volunteers. What we do is too important to be held back by a simple misunderstanding of our name. Our decision to change our name and image and to re-structure services has removed any barriers that women, children and young people from other ethnicities may encounter when they need help especially given that the word ‘African’ has been removed from our name. Also, ‘Women of Substance’ signified that we were strong and successful women, acting as a further barrier to the women that we sought to help who are usually, disadvantaged, depressed or isolated and will therefore not identify themselves as women of substance until they’ve been supported. We now have a clear strategic direction, redeveloping the brand into a modern, relevant and impactful charity whose purpose is clear to all.

 

We believe women are the heart of the family and families are the backbone of our community. No matter what stage you are currently in, at one point you have been a child, sister, mother, aunt, friend, employee or employer and what we know is: When the women of our community are strong, self-sufficient, and making good decisions the impact is far reaching.