To mark International Women’s Day, I interviewed Senia Dedic, the remarkable founder of local group WoW Mums. This inspirational band of women support each other through some pretty hard times – and also find the energy to support the wider community through volunteer work.
What is WoW?
WoW stands for Women of Wandsworth, an organisation I formed in 2007 to give parents a voice in all aspects of thier children’s lives.
How did you get involved?
I was a member of Sure Start Battersea management board as a parent of three children and had a say in forming the Sure Start family supoort policies and events.
After my children grew up, I felt that there is no support for partents with children over five years of age and founded Women of Wandsworth to tackle this problem and fill the gap in these services since there was a tremendous need for it in our community.
What events do you have planned in the next few weeks?
WoW Mums are all volunteers from local community and have fundraised to organise regular Taekwondo classes and regular drama classes for children.
We have been fortunate enough to have been granted funds for our DIY course for Mothers to be able to do simple repairs in the house and help their friends and neighbours as well.
We have initiated an inter-generational project to bridge the gap between the generations and have organised regular cooking events in our local Haven Lodge with our children and the elderly.
WoW members have been active in community camapigns – can you decribe some of this work?
WoW Mums have been very vocal in saving our York Gardens Library last year and as a result became stakeholders in York Gardens Library Group with aim to help the library become self-sustaining.
WoW Mums have taken a key role in changing Wandsworth Council’s decision to charge £2.50 for entrance to Battersea Park Adventure Playground.
We have asked the council to have a corner of Fred Wells Gardens for children to plant and grow flowers. That has been granted and the new group has been formed to take this idea forward.
WoW Mums were the co-founders of Spacemax – campaign against overcrowding in Wandsworth and help the tenants in Council flats with decluttering, building fold down furniture and partition walls for privacy resons.
We also support disabled children and disabled adults by organising various events.
WoW Mums have an urban child project, where we take children surounded by concrete to Devon farm for the country life – and food – experience.
Next we will embark on a new campaign against irresponsible dog owners who do not pick up the toxic faeces after their dogs.
What are the main challenges of raising a family in Wandsworth?
We have established that most of our parents are single mothers with no paternal support, which is detrimental for the child and the mother.
Another problem our parents have is the fact that they are all from abroad or from other part of UK and don’t have their family support here, which they need.
Wandsworth has got a lot to offer, but these problems above are usually left to the individuals to deal with. WoW Mums are tring to bond the parents, since they all have similar problems, and form a stronger parental voice when saving our children’s and community’s future.
By the way, men like our group and would like to join as well, since some single fathers have the same issues as single mothers. We had to change our constitution to allow a man to join WoW!
Can you give an example of a mother who has overcome these problems?
One of our single mothers has been made homeless over Christmas period and was in a devastating situation without her family in UK.
All of us helped her with the move, babysitting, car, van, donating furniture, storage or any other help that she needed.
That ment a lot to her, since she didn’t have anybody else to help her and WBC do not offer support with this.
The children address all us WoW Mums as Aunties, since they regard us as their family.
Let’s face it – all aspects of our lives have everything to do with children and parents are crucial in council’s consultations and decision making process.
Tell us a joke!
I don’t know if this is funny or sad… When we took a seven-year-old to Dartmoor for a two-mile hike, he asked after 500 metres: Where is the nearest ASDA?
Thank you very much, keep up the great work!
The video below gives a taste of WoW activities: