In 2017, our membership has continued to rise and we now have more than 80 voluntary sector member organisations from every region of England and in Wales. We have also grown our team: Katharine and Lisa have been joined by Connie, our full-time Policy & Comms Assistant, and we secured funding from Esmee Fairbairn for a Policy Manager, who will be recruited in the New Year. Here’s a round-up of some of our key achievements in 2017:
Women in Mind mental health campaign
- The Women’s Mental Health Taskforce launched at the Department of Health, with Katharine as its co-chair alongside the then Minister Nicola Blackwood. Katharine has secured assurance from the new minister Jackie Doyle-Price MP that the taskforce will continue and is working closely with officials to shape the Taskforce’s focus and work plan.
- In March we launched our restraint report showing that women and girls were being restrained at alarming and unacceptable rates. It was featured exclusively on the BBC’s News at 10. With six other leading mental health organisations, we wrote to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanding action, which was covered by the Observer.
- Agenda has contributed to the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill currently going through Parliament, ensuring that trauma-informed training for mental health staff is part of the bill. The Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 3rd A joint letter signed by Katharine was featured in The Times.
- Our work on women and girls’ mental health has been featured in The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer, BBC News, BBC Radio5Live, BBC Radio 1, British Medical Journal and Huffington Post.
Women and addiction
- New figures showing women’s drug-related deaths have nearly doubled saw Katharine interviewed for Channel 4 News, BBC Woman’s Hour and Vice, among others.
- We influenced the Government’s Drugs Strategy so that for the first time, women and the links between violence and addiction were explicitly mentioned, and Agenda’s research was quoted.
- We launched our Double Disadvantage report with Women in Prison, with Agenda quoted several times in the subsequent Lammy Review, highlighting the specific needs and experiences of BAME women in the criminal justice system. Huffington Post featured a piece by Althea Smith, a woman with lived experience, and we wrote a joint letter with Women in Prison, which was featured in the Guardian and Independent.
- The Government’s response to the Lammy review, published this week, mentioned the particular experiences of BAME women and committed to reviewing how they can best be supported
- Alongside AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) and funded by Barrow Cadbury, we launched the Mapping the Maze report, with three launch events in London, Manchester and Bristol, involving key politicians (Thangam Debbonaire MP, Beverley Hughes – Deputy Mayor of Manchester and Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council) as well as Pip Williams, expert by lived experience. The report has seen wide dissemination across the sector.
- Our new Commission with AVA on Domestic and Sexual Abuse and Multiple Disadvantage has launched. The first meeting was held at the end of October, and we are now looking for contributions to our call for evidence.
- We hosted a seminar on poverty, abuse and disadvantage in the lives of women in Westminster. The event was chaired by Lola and featuring the Home Office minister Victoria Atkins MP, expert by lived experience Colette Cronshaw, Lisa Dando from Brighton Women’s Centre and Louise Woodruff from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. We have arranged a follow-up meeting with Victoria Atkins in February.
- Agenda launched the #ThisisMyStory campaign, featuring the first-hand accounts of women and aiming to raise awareness among a wider audience. We have had 900 new followers since it launched in June and have seen our posts reach hundreds of thousands of people. Our Facebook page was launched and has already gained hundreds of likes and supporters.
- We have started encouraging people to sign up to be campaigners supporting Agenda’s work, which is attracting women with lived experience particularly.