In December 1999 a group of women got together to put a bid forward for some funding for the women of Preston Road Estate. This project became known as WINNER which stands for: Women Improving Now Not Ever Retreating. The bid was successful and delivered evidence based research to prove the need for a women-only space on Preston Road.
Whilst the research was happening, women were invited to come along to drop-ins to socialise and make their views known. By January 2000, Women were accessing WINNER regularly and were asking for activities and courses.
Later on that year, Preston Road Neighbourhood Development Company came into being and received £55 million to regenerate the Preston Road area.
The research undertaken by Winner formed the basis of a successful bid to launch a women’s project for the estate and at this point the services began to take shape.
First to appear was a range of accredited courses for women, closely followed by a specialist domestic violence and abuse service, a specialist sexual health service and then an outreach support service, helping women isolated in their own homes.
The one room which originally housed these services soon became far too small and work began to identify suitable larger premises. Hull City Council kindly gifted two properties on the front of Preston Road which were remodeled and repainted in Women’s Suffrage colours (green, purple and white) to create Preston Road Women’s Centre, which opened in January 2002.
In February 2004, the centre became a company limited by guarantee and in November of the same year was registered as a charity.
As a successful independent offshoot of the Preston Road Regeneration programme, the organisation formed partnerships with other delivery organisations and funders to offer facilities and services according to local women’s expressed needs.
In the last ten years, many thousands of women have benefitted from the courses, services, support and safety offered by the women’s centre and have gone on to achieve great things. It is the determination and dedication of women in those early days, overcoming many barriers and obstacles, that has enabled local women to benefit for more than a decade.
Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre is led and owned by the women of Preston Road. It continues to go from strength to strength, despite the current challenging economic climate, as a result of the vision, compassion and commitment of all the women involved.