How the centre is used
Women and children come to the centre to take a break or holiday, individually without kids, with friends, with family, or with a women’s group/organisation.
Large groups can make a “closed house” group booking and have the house to themselves. The house is an ideal place for holding skill-sharing workshops, training days or short courses.
Visitors are asked to respect other women’s lifestyles. Any attitude or behaviour which is felt to be oppressive will be challenged and women will be asked to leave. The centre’s policies are displayed on the house noticeboard, and on this page.
Why it is a Women’s Holiday Centre?
A Women only space helps to increase women’s confidence, independence and self-esteem, giving them a greater sense of control over their lives, and more options to make positive changes.
It can go some way to address the marginalisation, exclusions and isolation that many women feel. Role modelling is important – women see other women challenging traditional notions of what women can do, and see that other women who have faced similar challenges are now thriving. It gives women a chance to explore the commonalities of being women, across different experiences, background and identity. Some groups of women experience greater marginalisation and isolation, and have particular experiences of being both female and dealing with the impacts of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, disablism, class poverty, health status. The chance to have closed houses for specific groups of women provides an opportunity to develop a sense of autonomy and self-determination.
There are two resident workers who are happy and willing to help visitors make the most of their stay. They are responsible for the general day-to-day running of the house. In the event of a closed house their involvement can be negotiated. They are usually busy, even if they manage not to look it, and rely on guests to contribute 20 minutes help each day, eg with cleaning. They live on-site, so please remember this is their home as well as their work-place, and they may be off-duty. See our workers page if you are interested in working here.
Donations and fundraising have enabled the centre to survive. However, the house is under-funded and visitors payments do not cover all the expenses. Running costs are £25 per person per night, but we are committed to keeping our sliding scale of payments to ensure that women on low incomes can still afford to stay – see our fundraising page for more info on how you can help.
There is a covenant system set up so that no tax is paid on regular donations. Ask a worker for more details. We also have a “wish list” of things we need for the house and will gratefully receive any help in acquiring these items.
Don’t forget …
Look after your workers! This is a really demanding job that requires women to exercise all their skills on any given day. Please help by making their lives as easy as possible. Respect their space and right to privacy – the WHC is their home as well as their place of work (and your holiday home!). Take responsibility for the spaces you use – it’s a huge house to clean if guests don’t do their bit. You wont know about all the jobs that the workers need to do, but aside from chopping wood, shopping, finance and washing, there are a hundred little jobs to be done each day.
Most of all, remember to enjoy yourself, you’re on holiday! You have the right to have a good time while you are here, and it’s important to respect other women and children’s rights to enjoy their holidays, too. Many new friendships have been forged at the WHC, and romance has been known to blossom! We hope that you will like it enough to come back, and to continue enjoying and supporting this special place.
The Women’s Holiday Centre (W.H.C.) resolve to have a continual review of all policies set out below.
RACISM / XENOPHOBIA AND ANTI-SEMITISM
PARENTAL STATUS AND OLDER BOYS
MEAT FREE POLICY
PARTY / NOISE POLICY
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
WHY IS IT A WOMEN’S HOLIDAY CENTRE?
The W.H.C. is committed to the full implementation of Equal Opportunities in all aspects of its work. It is recognised that, in our society, groups and individuals are discriminated against on the basis of race, colour, national and ethnic origin, disability, gender, lesbian / bisexual / gay identity or HIV status. This discrimination may be direct or indirect. The aim of the W.H.C. Equal Opportunities Policy is to ensure that no employee, job applicant, management collective member or visitor receives less favourable on any of the grounds stated above.
The W.H.C. is committed to taking positive action to redress discrimination and to provide genuine equality of opportunity in employment and service delivery.
RACISM / XENOPHOBIA AND ANTI-SEMITISM
The W.H.C. recognised that the U.K. is a multi-racial society and believes that cultural diversity positively enriches our society. We recognise that black women and women from other ethnic minority groups suffer daily the effects of racism in our society. We also recognise that Jewish women suffer the effects of anti-Semitism.
- We support the struggle to redress the power imbalance.
- We will give our active support to women who suffer racial discrimination and harassment.
- We aim to ensure that the service we provide is relevant and accessible to all women.
To this end the W.H.C. will ensure that active measures are taken to:
- Combat racism within the organisation.
- Challenge institutionalised and individual racism when encountered in other organisations or trades.
- To support black and ethnic minority organisations with aims and objectives similar to those of the W.H.C..
Anti-lesbian, anti-bisexual or anti-gay remarks will not be tolerated. We recognise that these minority groups suffer the effects of homophobia daily, that heterosexuals have more power in our society and we aim to fight this oppression. The W.H.C. is committed to providing a service that is:
- Sensitive to the needs of lesbian / bisexual women.
- Actively challenging prejudice.
- Providing information about lesbian/bisexual events and issues.
The W.H.C. has recently reviewed its policy around gender identity in light of the Equalities Act, and welcomes input on this via firstname.lastname@example.org
Because of our communal accommodation, we only offer our services to women born female and raised as female. One of our fundamental aims is to provide a service that allows women to share and address the impact of growing up as girls and of being female, and that provides a sense of respite/refuge from their experiences of male power and misogyny.
We recognise that transgender people also face oppression, discrimination and often violence due to their transgender identity, and that gender inequality, roles and stereotypes are a shared root of the oppression of women and of transgender people.
We are committed to having links with organisations providing a safe space for transgender people to share and address these experiences, and providing information on such organisations. We are also committed to subjecting this policy to regular review. You can contribute to the shaping of this policy by giving your views via email@example.com
We are committed to challenging any discriminatory remarks or behaviour on the basis of transgender identity, and we stand in solidarity with all women and transgender people when they experience gender-based oppression.
The W.H.C. recognise the discrimination that disabled women face on a daily basis. The W.H.C. will not discriminate against women with physical disabilities or with mental health issues. The W.H.C. is committed to making its services fully accessible. We will endeavour to do this by:
- Working towards making the building fully accessible.
- Encouraging feedback about smaller changes that will improve accessibility.
- Actively challenging discriminatory remarks.
- Supporting events for disabled women.
The W.H.C. has a commitment to challenge working class oppression, recognising that people from working class backgrounds are limited in terms of life chances, employment and service provision. We will endeavour to challenge this oppression by ensuring that:
- The W.H.C. and its services are accessible to working class women.
- The workers and management collective represent working class women and that it is not tokenistic.
The W.H.C. recognise that women are discriminated against purely on grounds of gender and the W.H.C. is committed to countering discrimination against women in all its forms. We are committed to providing a safe women only space and to this end we will:
- Challenge sexism when encountered whilst working with other trades.
- Publicise women centred events and information.
- Promote positive images of women.
Violence or threatening behaviour towards women or children will not be tolerated. Anyone behaving in a violent or aggressive manner will be asked to leave the centre. The W.H.C. consider the following activities to be dangerous and harmful to women:
- The use of hard drugs
- The sex industry
Women promoting any of these activities will be asked to leave the centre.
Whilst we recognise the danger, and potential and actual harm done to women in these activities, we also understand that the military or the sex industry can be a chosen form of paid work for some women. We welcome self-help groups or individuals who are or have been involved in any of these activities, but we will not promote or tolerate the promotion of the activities themselves.
PARENTAL STATUS AND OLDER BOYS
The W.H.C. will endeavour to take pregnancy and childcare responsibilities into account where possible, in its employment and services. To this end we will:
- Provide a safe space for children.
- Allow boys at any time up to their 11th birthday
- Older boys, up to their 15th birthday, can stay a maximum of four weeks a year at the workers’ discretion.
- Closed groups can bring older boys at the workers’ discretion.
No woman should be made to feel unwelcome or discriminated against because of what she is wearing. However, if a woman’s clothes or behaviour oppresses or confronts other women, she may be challenged and asked to leave.
The W.H.C. recognises that women of different ages have different needs and we are committed to sensitively addressing these issues. We are committed to countering discrimination on the basis of age in all aspects of our work. Recognising the fact that older and younger women face particular disadvantages in society we aim to cater for their needs.
The W.H.C. will not discriminate against any woman on the basis of their religious beliefs and will endeavour to provide a service, which is sensitive to those beliefs and practices. However, where cultural practices or religious beliefs conflict with the W.H.C. Equal Opportunities Policy , the policy will prevail.
The W.H.C. is committed to actively challenge prejudice about HIV infection. The W.H.C. will not discriminate in terms of service provision or employment on the grounds of HIV status and will not require that staff or visitors disclose their HIV status.
Women who organise a closed house or who organise a party are responsible for their guests. When the driveway is full, cars must be parked on the public car park just before the bridge.
No amplified music should be played outside at all, and no outside music or other noise nuisance after 11pm.
Amplified music can be played indoors after 11pm by prior arrangement with workers only. Cut-off time to be agreed in advance, and the worker’s decision is final.
MEAT FREE POLICY
The garden and house are both meat free.
No smoking is allowed in the house at any time. This includes the use of e-cigs/vaping etc
No dogs are allowed on the W.H.C. premises except for trained assistance dogs with an Assistance dogs (UK) branded ID book or equivalent.
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
It is the policy of the Women’s Holiday Centre (WHC) to safeguard the welfare of children by taking all reasonable steps to protect them from physical, sexual and emotional harm.
The W.H.C. child protection policy is available on request.
We have a designated person to assist workers in issues around Child Protection, who will be contacted by workers if a situation arises.
WITH REGARD TO THE ABOVE STATEMENTS
Oppressive remarks, behaviour, assumptions and myths based on these issues should be challenged at the time they are made, with the aim of increasing understanding and effecting a change in attitude. If remarks are persistent and/or deliberate, women making them will be asked to leave, forfeiting their holiday. The incident should then be brought to the attention of the management committee.