Gup Shup women get involved thanks to Thames Valley Housing

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Women attending Gup Shup making craft items

Arts, crafts and shared memories are helping women in Reading get involved in their community, thanks to Thames Valley Housing (TVH)

Thames Valley Housing has donated £2,700 to fund Gup Shup, a project run by Reading Community Learning. It supports women from Black and minority ethnic cultures who are isolated because of religious and cultural barriers.

Aisha Malik, Centre Manager at Reading Community Learning Centre, said, “We are really grateful to TVH for the funding and support they’ve given us.  It will contribute to providing an environment where more women can practice using English in a supportive environment and develop a network of friends.”

“Many of these women are on very low incomes or unemployed often because of their language skills.  This is the only course of its kind in Reading that provides the chance to develop English at such a basic level and means the women who take part are then able to go onto more training and education courses.

The women also are able make friends with other women from similar backgrounds and in similar situations.  A key part of this is the arts and crafts projects the women take part in, as well as the opportunity they have to reminisce about their past experiences and to talk about current ones.    Through these friendships and shared experiences they develop self-confidence and a sense of belonging, which in turn improves their mental and physical health.”

Tessa Bird, Community Investment Officer at TVH said “I’m delighted we’ve been able to support Gup Shup.  It’s a fantastic project as it tackles a number of issues within one single course, and gives some of the most isolated members of our community the chance to make a contribution to that community as well as to benefit from it.

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Editors notes

Thames Valley Housing is based in Twickenham, South West London and houses a wide range of people who have many different needs. Founded in 1966, the association owns, manages and administers loans for over 14,000 properties in London, Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Sussex, and has 125 properties under construction. Thames Valley Housing provides affordable rented homes, shared ownership, market rent, student and key worker accommodation, working with eight NHS Trusts.

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