Cumbria Multicultural Women’s Network brings together women of diverse cultures now living in Cumbria, for the purpose of acknowledging and celebrating individual heritage and traditions, sharing unique and collective experience, and nurturing skills and confidence; thus enhancing abilities to integrate with local community and pursue new opportunities.

Who We Are

Activities and Achievements 2011-12

The newly formed, enlarged CMWN network was successfully launched on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2012.  Initiated by multicultural women’s activity throughout Cumbria, we are forming a county wide, vibrant, self-supporting web of BME women’s groups. 

2011-12 has seen the realisation of several new and ambitious projects, which have taken place in addition to the many ongoing activities, such as regular meetings, theatre trips, training activities, and discussions on topics of interest chosen by members.

This year, as before, a wonderful outcome of the CMWN planned programmes are the numerous new friendships and connections forged between members as a result of many informal gatherings. The visibly raised self-esteem and fulfilment of so many women is the result of willingness to take up and explore new opportunities and interests.


2011 – 2013 In Translation: an arts / health & well being-based project.

CMWN became partners with Manchester Art Gallery / UHC / Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society / Europia group in a rare opportunity for members to work with professionals on the process of creating a national art exhibition.

The project offered opportunities to develop creative abilities and exercise critical and reflective skills. Working in skills workshops, participants created studies of migratory birds found on Walney Island Nature Reserve.  Twelve of the studies resulted in screen printed versions of images which now feature in the national exhibition ‘In Translation', currently showing at Manchester Art Gallery.

2011 -12 Radio Drama: This is a creative writing project whereby members have worked over an eight months period with professional writer, Zosia Wand, to write an original 45 minute play for radio. Members worked as a team and co-wrote ‘The Veil’, which tells the fictional story of an Egyptian family living in a town very like Barrow, during the political uprising in Cairo, 2011

Writer and CMWN member, Zosia Wand continues to help the women to develop the script for presentation for acceptance by BBC. This project was intoduced to CMWN and administered by Film & Arts company Signal Films, with funding from the National Lottery.

2011Human Rights: ‘Acts of Memory’ Artist Monica Ross seeks to work with local people to create wider awareness of the articles enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights. 
20 members joined workshop sessions to recite chosen articles in their first language, in a private performance at the centre in Barrow.  Later a further six members took part in a public enactment at Lanternhouse, Ulverston. Over 12 languages were heard over the days of the project and the event was recorded in sound and film for our network archive.

Activities and events
2010 Refuge and assistance - A designated CMWN group have conducted research aiming to improve conditions for women who have visa status NRPF (No recourse to public funds), meaning that they re ineligible for formal support if they are subjected to domestic violence or abandonment. A series of meetings with agencies was arranged in 2010 and 2011 to raise awareness of the issue.

A successful appeal was organised within the network,for an individual member in crisis.

A three day training session with Oxfam’s ‘Routes to Solidarity’ was held in March and April 2012 to be followed by a planned campaign. The trainers from Oxfam, impressed with qualities they have seen in the CMWN group, will continue to support us in mounting a campaign.

Monthly meetings continue to take place in Barrow, Ulverston and Windermere.  The aims of these meetings are social and educational and activities vary - celebration of ethnic festivals, discussion of books or issues suggested by members, professional speakers offering health, parenting and welfare training.  Group trips are planned for educational or recreational outings. The Kendal group was formed in late 2011.  Kendal meetings are currently organised to establish development of the group and relevant activities. Contact Andrea for more information.

2011 - Library consultation: Cumbria County Council Library service consulted with the group on current and potential library use and specific needs.

2011 - 12 Health and well-being.  Furness group have partnered with Dare Dance in Barrow for regular weekly sessions held in a in a professional dance environment. Tutors, Amanda and Lauren have delivered 'Physicality of Culture' for over a year, initially at the Nan Tait Centre and now at their new dance studio on Abbey Road. Both tutors are great champions of fitness and dance,  leading the group in a fun way and teaching a variety of dance styles. These sessions are very well received and an average group size of 10 -15 members have attended regularly. Several new members have joined CMWN through this project.
2012 - International Women’s Day 8 March 2012 marked the first CMWN event to take place on a Cumbrian scale. Web cameras linked celebrations between Barrow, Kendal, Carlisle and Penrith. Continuing work and planning is being undertaken to strengthen the links between all groups and to ensure coordinated shared activity by the end of 2012.

Local midwife, Cath Holland, was invited to speak at the meeting in the role of 'Inspirational Woman of the Year'.  Her moving talk about her involvement in ongoing work in Kenya against entrenched local customs of female genital mutilation was inspiring.  FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. CMWN plans to set up a core group to suppport Cath in her work. 

2012 - 14 10th anniversary of CMWN in March 2014.
Links with supporting agencies and new partnerships are being sought and created; and plans for a series of county wide creative projects have begun in preparation for the anniversary.

"It truly was an awesome evening (9 Feb 2011, Ulverston Word Market presentation)"