Queen’s Park Community Centre hosted two community events in October with the aim of giving guidance and support to underrepresented women going through the menopause and peri-menopause.
The Let’s Talk Menopause and More events were organised by local resident and founder of the Menopause Alliance, Anita Powell, and made possible thanks to funding from leading health and wellness retailer, Holland & Barrett, in partnership with Wellbeing of Women.
Speakers at the events on 11 and 18 October addressed cultural diversity and taboos when it comes to menopause, and offered health and wellness advice around symptoms as well as the importance of seeking professional support.
The events took place following research by Holland & Barrett revealing over half of women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds don’t feel represented within the menopause conversation.
The first event featured a panel of experts including health and wellness coach Lucy Clement, pharmacist Yasmeen Akthar, BEDOC Menopause lead Lesley Quinn and Anne Harnan, a home economist who discussed the importance of diet when it comes to managing menopause symptoms.
Bedford-based menopause campaigner Anita, 50, is passionate about supporting women within communities where culturally, menopause doesn’t always get discussed openly.
Thanks to funding from Holland & Barrett’s Women’s Health Community Fund in partnership with Wellbeing of Women, Anita has been able to expand her work as a menopause advocate where she has been making a difference to women’s lives within the Bedford community.
Within her work as a menopause campaigner, Anita strongly advocates for healthcare professionals to be more culturally competent and inclusive in their approach to healthcare campaigns and consider the diverse needs and barriers of women – especially when it comes to talking about menopause.
The fund has enabled her to bring professionals together to talk about Menopause to communities that do not talk about menopause.
“It’s crucial to understand the unique needs of older women as they go through menopause,” said Anita.
“This understanding is not only important for their own well-being but also for the betterment of the broader community, as older women play a vital role in society”.
Over 60 women attended the events thanks to the supportive efforts of local Cllr Nesreen Akhta.
“Her work in the Queens Park area to promote the event among residents and her ongoing plans to set up a women’s community hub in the area demonstrates her commitment to making a meaningful difference to local women,” said Anita.
Research by Holland & Barrett reveals that 51 per cent of women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds say that current advice is not representative of them and too focussed on the experience of their white counterparts – the number shot up to over 70% for those from Black and African Caribbean background.
“A quarter of women from minority ethnic communities admitted they found it difficult to access menopause support relevant to their specific backgrounds, making events like Let’s Talk Menopause and More so important to communities,” said Lina Chan, director of women’s wellness at Holland & Barrett.
“Menopause is part of life for women and yet is a topic too often shrouded in taboo or secrecy.
“By working with Wellbeing of Women on the Women’s Health Community Fund, we can empower changemakers who already work in communities to amplify the work. We see the fund as a catalyst to reaching these communities and a faster step towards menopause care equity.”
Laura Neale, Head of Partnerships at Wellbeing of Women adds, “Despite menopause impacting 51% of the population, not everyone who will experience it has access to the same level of information and support. With a shared vision to make menopause education accessible, we are delighted to be working closely with Holland & Barrett to reduce this gap.
“After launching our pilot in the summer, we’re already seeing positive results and are very excited to see what more we can achieve together to support women’s health”.
For the opportunity to speak with experts in menopause and peri-menopause within ethnic communities in Bedford, visit facebook.com/menopausealliancebedfordshire.
Visit Holland & Barrett’s multi-language menopause online consultation service for menopause advice and support in multiple languages. Book an appointment with a trained H&B menopause advisor in Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati and Punjabi.