Services join forces

Women’s Healthworks executive director Mandy Stringer
Women’s Healthworks executive director Mandy Stringer

The local women’s health, education and resource centre opened under the umbrella of the larger organisation’s forerunner, Women’s Health Care House, in late 1989, then went out on its own several months later.

Twenty-five years on, the Women’s Healthworks (WHW) board has rekindled the partnership to help meet growing demand in a tight economy.

Though the WHW name will eventually disappear, the centre will remain at Joondalup Lotteries House, retain existing services and offer more, particularly in the burgeoning far northern suburbs.

Mandy Stringer, who has been WHW executive director for 18 years, will become Joondalup branch manager and all but one of 15 staff will retain their jobs.

‘Day to day, staff will be the same,’ Ms Stringer said.

‘We will still have our clinical, counselling and support services in addition to our social services delivered from here, but there will also be new services, which we are already beginning to see.’

Long-time WHW chairwoman Robin Terry said core funding for women’s health centres had not increased ‘in any meaningful way’ in more than a decade despite the changing complexities of women’s health and an increased population.

‘Everyone is aware of the growth in population in the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo and this has placed a great burden on all social and community services’ capacity to meet growing demand,’ she said.

‘Also the high migrant population means many families are without extended family support and consequently experience all the associated problems of trying to manage family life with few support systems in place.’

The outgoing WHW board hosted members and friends at Joondalup Function Centre on Monday to celebrate the past and look to the future.