What we do

Our vision is to provide non-judgmental support and information to all women. Whatever their reason for seeking help we recognise that women face challenges in their lives that are distinct from those of men. Our services are tailored to support women to make the changes they need, at their own pace.

We have five objectives

To provide a safe, non-judgemental environment for women
To promote equality and inclusion
To address social isolation and develop sustainable support networks for women
To improve well-being outcomes for children and families
To develop partnerships with statutory, voluntary and private sector services to meet the needs of women and the community

Meet our Members

Watch the vides below to find out more about Kyra and to hear what it means to some of the women who have been helped by the project.

“I grew as a person…..Kyra offered me much more than a course, it gave me strength to be me!”

How I came to use Kyra was to support a client, sadly she was unwell and couldn’t attend the sessions but I felt that I could benefit from attending the course on a personal level. I was met with a smile and a friendly face welcoming me in, I was nervous and a bit apprehensive to start just because the job I have people presume that being confident is something I couldn’t have a problem with. A group of probably equally nervous people waited for the course to start. We shared and found common ground, being able to support and work on things together gave us all strength.

This is where I felt I could be me, I didn’t need to pretend, I was accepted for just being me! That felt good! During the course I got support from the Kyra team and those lovely people attending the course, I grew as a person, the group grew together and forged some great friendships. Kyra offered me much more than a course, it gave me strength to be me! Reading messages that we wrote at the beginning of the course and seeing how far we had come by the end was immeasurable. Since leaving the course I have being able to put in to practice some of what I’ve learnt and now volunteer to hopefully enable more people to use the services Kyra has to offer.

Come and meet the team at Kyra, you will be made to feel welcome. E

Read how K’s negative feelings about herself prior to starting a course had changed by the end of it.

When a group member arrives to the self-esteem group we ask that she writes a little about how she feels about herself, and her life. At the end of the course the process is repeated – this is one woman’s story – we hope she is very proud of herself, we are….

Start of the Course-
‘I see myself as unattractive inside and out. I feel a failure being a parent. I am getting switched off to emotions as every event/situation in my life is a bad one. I see myself as always looking back and never to the possibilities of positive change’ – K

End of the course-
‘I am more positive and realise that things take time to take effect and need to work at it. I feel I can take control of my life now and am able to manage and enjoy my children a lot better’ – K

“Too often in the past I feel I’ve been judged because of my past, my mental health issues and my physical disability. I’ve now gained confidence both personally and socially.”

I had recently moved back to York after living in Leeds for 20 or so years, and although I had been brought up in York most of my friends had moved on or had families of their own and we had lost touch. I’d moved back to be nearer to my mum, sister and nephew, but found myself somewhat isolated. Whilst living in Leeds I’d had fairly intense support from the forensic mental Health Team and my Housing support worker from Leeds Mind. Although I had been referred to York mental Health Services I was considered ‘Stable’ and not in need of the services. Whilst mainly I agreed I still needed something or rather some means of meeting others and having social contact. Within a week of moving into my flat I’d had an accident which had left me unable to get out and about as I had first planned. Whilst generally I coped well, the enforced staying in meant that my anxiety about going out and particularly around meeting other people became an issue once again. I felt very self-conscious due to having to walk with a stick and worried about what people would think. I first heard about Kyra from my mum, I had always enjoyed writing and her counsellor had told her about the new Kyra women’s project and that there would bea creative writing course starting which I would maybe be interested in. I wasn’t able to get along to the open day so I decided to look Kyra up on Google. I did and also noticed they had a drop in on a Tuesday afternoon. As it was a fairly new project I thought it would be good for me as it meant I wouldn’t be going into an already established group as an ‘outsider’ which is something I find very difficult.

I started going to the Tuesday afternoon drop in at the beginning of January, for the first few weeks I seemed to be the only one there, with the exception of a few people dropping in for information about the project. I was warmly welcomed by Yvonne and the volunteers who run the drop in. I also started the creative writing group and met a few other people. Since I started going the drop in has really picked up and I have met and made a few good friends through going. I also go to the Saturday drop in on the 1st and 3rd Saturday in the month. I have done the Creative writing group, budgeting skills and am now doing a skills for work course. I am looking at finding work or going to college, which is something I haven’t been able to consider in a long time.

What particularly appeals to me about Kyra is that women from all walks of life are welcome, you don’t need a ‘label’ or particular issue to attend. All the workers and volunteers are very welcoming and friendly as are the other women I’ve met through Kyra. Kyra has given me the opportunity to meet people socially in a safe friendly environment. I also feel like I am accepted for who I am which is very important for me. Too often in the past I feel I’ve been judged because of my past, my mental health issues and more recently because of my physical disability. Everyone I have met at Kyra have been really supportive and encouraging. I have gained confidence both personally and socially. I have also made new friends. – J

Read E’s story about leaving her home and an abusive relationship, and re-building her confidence and life in a new home.

I would like to thank Kyra for all the help and support it has offered me.

In July 2013 I left my family home in Birmingham, leaving behind my two daughters aged 11 and 16. The week prior to my exodus from the family home, my husband abused me by pulling out chunks of my hair and rubbing saliva into my eyes.

This seemed wrong: it was the tip of the iceberg. I was punched in the ribs, back and arm on separate occasions. I was also subjected to emotional, psychological and financial abuse as well as been exposed to controlling behaviour, blackmailing, vile insults and other demeaning behaviour.

Kyra has given me the opportunity to attend a self-esteem and assertiveness course which I am now actually pursuing, as well as job search skills.

Initially I was very apprehensive about attending, I didn’t want to share my pain.However, as I have being [sic] involved with the course my confidence has grown, sharing has helped and I now feel I am taking valuable steps in growing my confidence and moving from isolation, back into full integration and participation insociety. Now I just need the right work opportunity to meet my needs to progress.

Thanks Kyra for all your help and encouragement. – E.

“It is hard when you’re stressed remembering what I have been taught over the last year and not giving up on trying…”

I suffer from the stress and low esteem, due to my son’s drug abuse. Relaxation helps me cope with my day to day life. I’m trying to master relaxation, it is hard when you’re stressed remembering what I have been taught over the last year and not giving up on trying to put it into practice. I wouldn’t miss my Thursday night group for anything. – G.

“When I’m ready, if I want to. Help is there but never forced.” Read M’s poem about her Kyra experience.

No huge hall, no crowds of strangers.

No one judges, no one stares.

A cup of tea, a gentle smile.

A welcome, comfort, safe and warm.

When I’m ready, if I want to.

Help is there but never forced.

Sharing, chatting, laughing, crying.

All are normal – understood.

Young to old we join together.

Working on a sense of ‘self’.

Picking up the broken pieces.

At a lonely, hopeless time.

I BELONG.

M

Follow R’s journey with post-natal depression, her first impressions of Kyra, experiences at a course and Singing Club, and ultimately running a PND course for other women.

I first contacted Kyra in May this year, as I had been having a hard time with postnatal depression following the birth of my first child. Having been treated I found myself isolated, lacking in confidence and unsure where to turn to or how to pick myself up again.

Having been pointed in their direction by a mental health worker I contacted Kyra by email looking for support, and received a reply from Yvonne. She invited me to the Tuesday drop in session, ‘Your Space’.

At first it took me a bit of time to build up the confidence to go as at times I was at such a low ebb I had difficulty leaving the house. Eventually I met Cath at the entrance of the museum gardens and she walked me to the workshop, which I found far less intimidating than if I had had to find my own way there. She introduced me to the women at the group and I relaxed pretty quickly because everyone present was so friendly. One thing that impressed me on that first visit was the way that Yvonne and Cath made an effort to speak to anyone who looked as though they were having trouble engaging with the group for any reason, so everyone there was make to feel part of the group.

At the session, I was introduced to Eimear who runs a singing club on Wednesday evenings at the Kyra centre. I agreed to go as I used to enjoy singing in school and had missed it, and I recognised that it would be an informal and pressure free setting. Eimear wasn’t wrong about the fun aspect and Wednesday evenings soon became a highlight of my week, and it game me time off from being ‘mum’ to do something I loved.

Soon after, I started Yvonne’s self-esteem course, ‘ESTA’. Unfortunately, the postnatal depression had robbed me off [sic] myself-esteem and had affected my personal relationships and the quality of life, as well as making me feel very isolated at times.

The course which Yvonne ran not only gave me a chance to engage with women who felt the same ways I did, but taught me invaluable life skills in communication, critical thinking and assertiveness which I had struggled with while ill. By the end of the course, I felt like a new person. My relationships with those around me improved and I stopped feeling as if I was living to please other people and no longer felt the world around me was passing me by.

A few weeks later, I was contacted by the BBC through another organisation I am a member of and was asked to speak on the national news about my experiences of post-natal health care. Up until this point, I had kept my post-natal depression a secret and could barely speak to a qualified counsellor, let alone a well known BBC presenter. But I felt a new sense of confidence and went ahead, and was able to retell my story to someone I have never previously met.

Now, with some gentle guidance from Yvonne, I am facilitating a group here at Kyra to offer pre and post-natal support to women who are struggling like I was. Kyra has played a pivotal part in my recovery and have enabled me to extend that support to mothers who were suffering like I was.

The support I got from Kyra has not only brought new and beneficial friendship into my life, but has brought me self-esteem, confidence, motivation and a sense of purpose, it was very helpful having a safe place where I could relate my experiences without fear of being judged.

I recently visited my physiotherapist, who I told my problems with back pain had drastically improved. He told me with a smile, “Of course they have. You now walk with your back straight and your head held high!” And I’ve Kyra to thank for that. – R.

I was relieved to hear that there is a group out there to help women with their confidence and self esteem…”

Kyra is an amazing women’s project that has helped me during a very difficult period in my life. I was initially referred to Kyra by york hospital after suffering complications after an ectopic pregnancy. I had to have several operations and was in pain for a long time, the pain clinic told me about Kyra and I was relieved to hear that there is a group out there to help women with their confidence and self esteem, which I was lacking after being housebound waiting for operations.

When I went to Kyra I had just started a new job and it was daunting, I also became an easy target for bullying due to my lack of confidence after all the ops I had had. My husband also was very ill and I had no where to turn. Friends became distant, almost avoiding me. I am not sure if it was because negative things happened to me or that I was no fun to be around or they simply did not know what to say to me.

Kyra has been my rock during this difficult time, in particular the stress management relaxation evening on a thurs. I have learnt to value myself, that I am worth more, not to beat myself up if I make a mistake, view mistakes differently- as a gift and a way of learning. It also has taught me how to relax using breathing methods as I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.

Every city would benefit from a charity like this is a world of selfishness and isolation. It has been inspiring for me to know that people do care and that people can empathise. I felt very bitter when many friends let me down when I needed support but I had to learn to be my own best friend, I am still learning this to this day with the help of Kyra. I never felt totally alone during this period of change because I know my friends from Kyra will be there for me. I cannot thank them enough for their help and support over this last year.

“…all of a sudden it was like a switch had been turned in my brain and I started feeling more confident, more like my old self again. Couldn’t believe it!”

My Story

I was at loss with no-where to turn, I felt I’d completely exhausted all of my back up energy and was running close to empty.

I had come out of an abusive marriage but due to contact with children was still stuck in an abusive relationship with my ex. I finally rang someone for help and advice; that is when I contacted IDAS. I was quickly assigned a case worker who just listened and offered support in the form of a workshop, ‘Moving on From Domestic Abuse’.

The weekly workshops run by IDAS were held in a place called KYRA. I’d never heard of KYRA and had no idea of the service they offered.

Volunteers from KYRA helped out at the workshop. They were so lovely! They were compassionate and completely non-judgemental. After I’d completed the Domestic Abuse sessions I was at a loss as to what to do next and how to continue with my overall goal of changing the way I responded to my ex. The staff and volunteers at KYRA ensured we all knew there were plenty of opportunities for us to continue getting support from them in various ways. I chose to attend a course called ESTA which is to help build low self-esteem.

My first session on the ESTA course I was full of doubt, after all, how could a 10 week course really make a difference to improve my low self-esteem after all these years?

The course was run in an extremely professional manner and allowed us all time to discuss whatever came up for us at any time. Each of us was there for different reasons and any issues which arose during the sessions were often followed up by the offer of other services within KYRA, for example, counselling sessions; financial advice; or simply drop in sessions for company and chat.

Each session was structured and the course flowed really well. After just over half way through, all of a sudden it was like a switch had been turned in my brain and I started feeling more confident, more like my old self again. Couldn’t believe it! This spurred me on to set goals and to look forward to a future and opportunities I really believed were lost for me.

I am overwhelmed with how lovely and compassionate and supportive all of the staff and volunteers have been towards me since I first stepped through their door. I am also a different person in myself; I am now more confident and feel happy and enthusiastic about my future.

I honestly didn’t think it was possible. Admittedly, I am not completely healed from the years of abuse and subsequent low self-esteem. However, I now have the tools and the ongoing support from KYRA, to get there.

Thank you so much!!

xxx

I arrived in a heightened state of anxiety….. It has reignited my enthusiasm and has enabled me to go on to do so many others things.”

I have previously done a creative writing course in a large classroom, about 16-18 people, mixed age and sex.  I became mortified when asked to read out my work (as some people seemed prepared) in front of these people, my work sounded so amateur.  I felt myself shrivel up inside, felt stupid, told myself ‘I can’t do it’. I then heard that Kyra were doing a Creative Art course,

I was so pleased and eventually spoke to someone who said that a creative writing course was starting, (well I knew I was not going to join that!).  I told them I didn’t want to do that – I wanted to do the Art.  I was encouraged to have a go at the Creative writing and told there was no pressure and if it wasn’t for me there was no problem.

I arrived in a heightened state of anxiety, how many people, oh hell I really didn’t want to do this.  I went into a small room with a couple of sofas and five people.  It was just so different from the previous writing course.  Really enjoyed it, to the extent we meet up once a month and I wouldn’t miss it.  It has reignited my enthusiasm and has enabled me to go on to do so many others things. – A

Latest News

Space on employment programme

May 16, 2021|

Our Action Towards Inclusion project, which helps women tackle the barriers to employment, has some spaces for new clients. If you want help to get back into work, email glynis@kyra.org.uk.

New Trustees for Kyra

May 16, 2021|

Last month we welcomed four new Trustees to the Kyra Board. They are Annabel Jelley, Nicola Winter, Helen Bradley and Victoria Remington-Smith. Between them they bring a raft of new skills to the organization and ...

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