International Women’s Day 2020

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Sunday 8th of March is International Women’s Day. We mark this day every year to celebrate the inspiration woman all over the world who are working hard and campaigning, not only for gender equality but also to end violence against women and girls.

‘The police recorded 59,541 incidents of domestic abuse in 2017-18, an increase of 1% compared to the previous year. Where the victim’s gender was known, the clear majority of victims in 2017-18 (82%) were female. Around four out of every five incidents of domestic abuse in 2017-18 had a female victim and a male accused. This proportion has remained very stable since 2011-12.’ (

North Ayrshire Women’s Aid will be handing out flyers and bags containing sunflower seeds in and around Saltcoats town centre on Monday to mark International Women’s Day. We plant sunflowers in memory of the women who have been killed at the hands of their partners.

We hope to see you there. Happy International Women’s Day!

Cook School Newsletter

Summer Cook School 2019 (cheap and cheerful tasty food on a budget)

As a result of feedback from the Friday Drop In group, an application was submitted to North Ayrshire Council’s Participatory Budgeting to fund a short term ‘cook school’ over the summer period. The idea was to encourage women to come together, learn from each other and to develop nutritious meals from food bank parcels or using fresh ingredients on a limited budget.

In June we were invited to attend a public event at Eglinton Park and ‘host’ a stall to promote our idea and encourage members of the public to vote for the project. One of the women who attends the Drop In agreed to come along with her daughters to help promote the stall. It was a very busy morning with our ‘bug bites’ (decorated grapes) and the girls proving to be a great success with the public, as we were awarded the funding. A huge thanks to them for all their hard work and efforts!

Starting in July 2019 and ran fortnightly, the project has proved to be very popular having regularly attracted between 8-10 women each time. The women were encouraged to use their skills, knowledge and experience and by learning from each other they came up with a range of different recipes and meal ideas. These have included: chicken and rice soup, lentil soup, spicy chicken pasta, Italian meat balls with home-made tomato sauce and meat free/vegetarian stews. We also made pancakes, frittatas and everyone’s favourite macaroni cheese! For those with a sweet tooth we also learned to make a mouth- watering delicious “No Bake Cheese Cake.” Many thanks to all the women who shared their recipes and ‘top tips’.

The women still continue to meet at the Friday Drop in, and continue to swap and share stories and ideas. We are currently working on recipe booklets and cards which will help ensure an impact beyond the initial project period. We are also planning to deliver some of shortened version of the cook school to the food bank and the women in our refuges early January.

What the women told us about the project:

  • “I’ve made some lovely meals that the kids have enjoyed”
  • “I have learned to be more confident and cook myself without help”
  • “(I have learned) how to feed a fussy child”
  • “New friends, learned new things and has made me feel part of the community”
  • “(I have) learned how to cook on the cheap”
  • “I have made dinner time more fun with my kids and they now help me cook….my kids also love the new things that I’ve learned and it has brought us closer together.”

Italian Meatballs

Serves 4

250g turkey mince
Italian seasoning (1tsp)
½ onion
1 Clove of garlic
½ pepper (red or yellow)
2 slices of bread
Salt and pepper (pinch of both)
1 egg
Flour (3 Tbsp.)

Grate the bread to make breadcrumbs. Finely slice the onion, garlic and pepper. Add breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, pepper and Italian seasoning into a bowl and mix together.
Add ¼ of the mince at a time into the bowl and mix well. Continue adding remaining mince and ensure it is mixed well with other ingredients.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg then slowly add small amounts into the mix to bind together. Do not use all of the egg as it will make the meatballs too runny. You should have ¼ of the egg left – discard this.

Using a dessert spoon, scoop some of the mixture, and using your hands (lightly coated in flour) roll the mixture into a ball. Don’t press too lightly as the mixture will stick in your hands. Make approximately 12 meatballs.

Place the meatballs onto a baking tray and cook for approximately 20-25 minutes at 180° (fan oven) or 200° normal oven. Serve with sauce and spaghetti.

Basic Pasta Sauce

1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper
1 tin of tomatoes or 1/3 tub of passata
1 stock cube
1 desert spoon of oil (to fry)
Optional: red/yellow pepper, courgette, chilli or sweet paprika.

Finely dice onion & garlic and fry together in oil until golden brown colour. Add Italian seasoning. Dissolve stock cube in pint of boiling water.

Add pint of stock, tomatoes and tomato paste into onion & garlic. Bring to boil and continue to stir to avoid sticking to pot.

Reduce heat and part cover with lid to allow ingredients to reduce continuing to stir on regular basis. This will take 25-30 minutes.

Any leftover sauce can be stored in a container and frozen to be used at a later date.

Spicy Bean Stew

1x onion
1 teaspoon chilli [or sweet roasted paprika]
2 tins mixed beans
2 garlic cloves
2 tins chopped tomatoes

Rinse beans & set aside. Finely chop onion & garlic add chilli then lightly fry until softened.

Add tins of Tomato & beans and bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Use only one tin if you don’t want too many tomatoes.

Increase/reduce chilli/garlic according to taste. You can use a can of beans & tomato sauce as alternative provided you rinse beans off. You can also use beans, chickpeas, kidney beans etc.

No-bake Cheese Cake

1 small tub of fresh cream
1 small tub of mascarpone cheese
½ teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 cup of icing sugar
½ packet of plain digestive biscuits
¼ tub of margarine
You will also need a whisk or hand blender.

Place biscuits in a sandwich bag and using a rolling pin break biscuits in fine crumbs before placing in a mixing bowl.

Heat the margarine and slowly add into the mixing bowl, using a fork to combine the biscuit crumbs.

Spoon mixture into a well-greased baking tray. Use spoon to press mixture firmly together to form a base about 2.5cm thick. Leave in fridge for at least an hour to set.

Using hand blender/whisk mix the mascarpone cheese and icing sugar together. Then add the fresh cream and continue to blend until the mixture begins to stiffen.

Remove the biscuit base from the fridge and add topping. Sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar to finish off.

Newsletter – Summer 2019 Edition

Welcome to the summer edition of NAWA News, written by one of our volunteers. This summer, our volunteers and the Young Voices group have been going out into colleges and schools to give talks and promote Women’s Aid and raise awareness of violence against women. Over the next few months we will be planning different events to explain what Women’s Aid do.

On 14th May myself and another volunteer went to Auchenharvie Leisure centre to promote Women’s Aid. Our stall was a bit away from the main entrance but we still managed to get some people over to see us. It was a roasting hot day so we were trying to keep cool by going to the machine for ice lollies.

We then had an event at Sainsbury’s on 13th June which consisted of raising awareness for Women’s Aid. There were staff and volunteers at the event that day. Myself and some staff members also did a stall at Eglington Park on Sunday 23rd June, focusing on safety awareness.

We then had an event at Sainsbury’s on 13th June which consisted of raising awareness for Women’s Aid. There were staff and volunteers at the event that day. Myself and some staff members also did a stall at Eglington Park on Sunday 23rd June, focusing on safety awareness.

I have just found out that you can coordinate the colour of hats for premature babies IE red for heat amber for less heat and green for doing okay in accordance with body temperature, I thought that was a great idea so I will start putting little pom poms on the hats that I knit.

16 Days of Action

16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence is aimed at businesses that lack an infrastructure to deal with the large-scale problem that is domestic violence. As it stands, companies can do more to aid their employees who endure domestic violence, train those who witness it, and to protect staff as a whole, with the goal of securing safety and mitigating financial loss.

The decision to make the event span from 25 November to 10 December was deliberate as to include three other major events: International Human Rights Defenders Day (29 November), World Aids Day (1 December) and the anniversary of the Montreal École Polytechnique Massacre (6 December). This is to highlight the connection between human rights and domestic violence.

The decision to make the event span from 25 November to 10 December was deliberate as to include three other major events: International Human Rights Defenders Day (29 November), World Aids Day (1 December) and the anniversary of the Montreal École Polytechnique Massacre (6 December). This is to highlight the connection between human rights and domestic violence.


I was asked to write something about what volunteering consists of and that is to set up stalls wherever the event is. I myself and a member of staff went to Eglington park to promote what women’s aid do for people who find themselves in difficult situations. We try and help them and give them our phone number to call for advice and help.

We held a meeting for new volunteers to help with the work that we do, I and some of the women were there to explain what we do as volunteers. Even if it’s just a couple of hours a week we would be very grateful if they could help out. We held the meeting on Thursday 4th of July in the main office. This was mainly to provide information for volunteers such as helping out with setting up stalls and going to venues or just be a friend to someone who needs help with shopping.

The women were very interested in becoming a volunteer for woman’s aid and to give something back. When it was my turn to give a speech I just explained what I did and where we went and help out at the stalls all in all it was a very good night.
Since being a volunteer I have met a lot of people coming to groups and going to the Friday group and help to provide a simple meal for the price of a couple pounds.

Best Start Grant

The Scottish Government has now replaced the Sure Start Maternity grant with Best Start Pregnancy and Baby grant. Qualifying families will receive £600 from 25th week of pregnancy to 6 months after the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any following children.
There is also the early learning grant which is a payment of £250 when your child starts nursery this is available from the day of your child’s second birthday till their 3 and a half.
There is also the school age grant of a further £250 to help with additional costs when your child starts school.

You don’t need to have received the pregnancy and baby grant to be eligible for the early learning grant or the school age grant, as long as you meet the qualifying criteria.
You’ll be eligible for best start grant if you get any of the following benefits:

  • Universal credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit

You can apply for this through the Scottish government under the Scottish government best start grant.

Scotland’s Women Stand

On the 7th of September two volunteers and a member of staff attended the Scotland’s women stand in the Scottish parliament these are their stories.

“This was a great honour to be asked to go to the Scottish Parliament for Women’s Stand and seeing just women in the debate chamber, it was an amazing day. I would like to thank everyone that made it possible for a wonderful weekend. We were there for women who wanted to make a stand for parliament also there was different workshops to go to and listen to what people were saying. Going back to the debate chamber there was presiding officer Linda Fabiani also the co-leader of the green party, two council members and a member of SYP. We also had the Maryhill Joyful choir who were brilliant.”

“On the 7th of September me and 2 others had the privilege to attend the Scotland’s Women stand event at Scottish parliament, this event was to get more women interested and into politics whether that is their local council, MSP or the Scottish youth parliament. There were many speakers including the co-leader of the green party, the Hamilton MSP, two council members and a member of the SYP. The co-founder of the women 50:50 movement was also in attendance to give a speech. As well as all of that the Shakti women’s aid theatre put on a play. All in all, it was a very enjoyable and enlightening experience and I would like to thank everyone who made this event possible.”