Getting Cumbria to Work: Barrow and South Lakeland

Building Better Opportunities: Getting Cumbria to Work: Barrow and South Lakeland (BBO-GCtW) is one of three partnership projects in Cumbria being jointly funded through the Building Better Opportunities programme by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund, who are co-investing in local projects tackling the root causes of worklessness, promoting social inclusion and driving local jobs and growth.
The other two projects are being led by Groundwork in Allerdale and Copeland and by WEA in Carlisle and Eden.

Self Referral

We try to offer as much as we can to help you be all you want to be as a woman. Are you looking to get involved in Women’s Community Matters? You can self refer by calling us on 01229 311102 or emailing You are also welcome to pop into the Centre to find out more Monday – Thursday 9.30am – 4pm or Friday 9am – 1pm.

Professional Referral

To make a professional referral download, complete and return our referral form. After that, someone will be in touch within a week or two to arrange a Gateway appointment. Questions? Give us a call on 01229 311102.

Download: General Referral form

If you’re referring a young person aged 14 – 19 for Pause, for thought complete the following referral form:

Download: Pause Referral form

Our services are broken down into three types:

Drop-in Activities

Our group activities just require you to turn up - there's no need to book!

Drop-in sessions
Monday and Wednesday between 10.00am and 12.00pm we are open to welcome you to Women’s Community Matters and answer any questions you may have. Meet the WCM team, have a cup of tea and make friends. These time are also where you can access our clothes bank.

Knit & Natter
Every Tuesday between 1pm and 3pm you can join us to knit, crochet or make blankets and quilts. Experts and beginners welcome. Bring your own or we can provide materials. A place to knit and to natter... with plenty of tea and coffee!

Cooking Together
Every Thursday from 10am - 12pm join our "watch and eat" cookery class will teach you the basic skills to cook healthy and affordable meals for you and your family.

Drop-in for young women aged 14-19
Every Thursday from 3.30pm - 5.30pm join a small, relaxed group of girls. We have activities such as photography, art and film-making for you to get involved in. You can all our activities on our What's On calendar.

Sometimes you just need to talk face-to-face with someone.

If you want to get involved in one-to-one support (or courses and groups) you'll be invited to a 1-hour Gateway appointment. This appointment will help us get to know you and explore how we can best help. We will chat about you and your experiences, especially your passions, interests and what you hope to change. We will explain all our groups, courses and appointments before deciding together what best suits you.

If you're interested in one-to-one support after your Gateway appointment you will be placed on the waiting list for a Key Worker (waiting times vary). Once a Key Worker becomes available they will contact you to arrange your first session.

We can help with a range of things including:

1. Domestic and sexual abuse
2. Benefit and housing issues
3. The police, courts and prison
4. Mental wellbeing
5. Employment and education

We also have a range of specialist appointment slots with various women that can help you with specific issues:

1. Free Family Law Legal Clinic with Holden's solicitors
2. Benefits and work support with Focus Families
3. Housing advice with Citizens Advice Bureau

Call Women's Community Matters to book an appointment: 01229 311102

This is where it gets exciting!

We regularly run courses and groups where you can learn and grow. These courses are very popular and we need to know numbers so booking is essential.

Personal Development Courses

Beautiful Women, Part 1 Personal Development course
This course explores the world and your place in it. We cover topics such as judgement, womanhood, identity, love and resilience. After each session you'll receive a small homemade gift and an inspirational quote to take home.

Length: 6-sessions, 2 hours per session.

Beautiful Me, Part 2 Personal Development course
This course is a deeper exploration of who you are by focusing on your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Topics include: The Self, Emotions, Perceptions and Expectations. You'll receive a workbook and journal full of inspirational information, quotes and ideas!

Length: 6-sessions, 2 1/2 hours per session.

My Relationships & Me, Healthy Relationships course
Our healthy relationships course explores all elements of our relationships with friends, family, partners and more! Topics include - The Brain, Communication, Sex, Loneliness and Connection.

Length: 6-sessions, 2 hours per session.

My Safety & Me, Personal Safety course
Our Personal Safety and Awareness course explores a variety of topics such as Victim Awareness, Drug and Alcohol Recovery, Online Safety, Sexism, Equality, Hate Crime and Domestic Abuse.

Length: 6-sessions, 2 hours per session.

Event Planning / Graduation Event
Once you have completed a number of our courses and groups you are invited to plan an event as a celebration of your success. You'll have a small budget and will work alongside other women to arrange catering, guest lists, welcome packs, fundraisers and much more. It's truly inspirational!

Length: 8-sessions, 1 1/2 hours per session + 2 hour event.

Support Groups

Talking Minds
Our monthly support group to promote mental wellbeing and share experiences of living with mental health conditions. We provide access to specialist services in the area.

Length: on-going, 2 hours per session.

Women in the Criminal Justice System

Our life skills course for women involved in the criminal justice system explores mental health, relationships, victim awareness, healthy lifestyles and much more!

Length: 12-sessions, 2 hours per session.

The PETALs programme is an 8-week one-to-one support package for to help you get back on your feet and start to live the life you deserve. You'll work with your Key Worker each week to take care of the basics - housing, safety, food, warmth, clothing, money, sleep and health. Funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Length: 8-weeks, 1 - 3 sessions per week.

Community Payback
We offer community payback placements for women who have hours to complete. You'll get involved in the day-to-day running of the Centre and will be integrated into our volunteer team (no one will know why you're here!) You'll be cleaning, tidying, shopping, completing admin tasks and much more.

Women experiencing domestic abuse

New Lives
We have two properties (short-term let) in the local area for women experiencing domestic abuse. The flats are fully furnished and provide a safe space for you and your family while you rebuild your life. We work in partnership with Barrow Borough Council, who hold the tenancy on the property, and provide you with the support you need to move into a permanent home.

One-to-one support
If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need someone to talk to our trained staff team are here to offer one-to-one support.