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Meet Siobhan Bryson, CEO of Weave Youth & Community Services

“They all have their own struggles but they’re just really good support for each other.”

CEO of Weave, Siobhan Bryson, reflects on an exciting new community group for young women in Redfern and the importance of place-based organisations.

In March 2022, our partner Weave Youth & Community Services created a new program in direct response to a request from young women in the community looking for a space to come together and connect. 

Thanks to funding from our generous donors, Sydney Community Foundation has been able to donate $25,000 to help them grow the Young Women’s Leadership Program and continue their vital work. 

“We had some young women who were a bit lost and socially isolated, and didn’t feel like they had a safe space where they could talk about issues, have a laugh and just be themselves,” says Siobhan Bryson, CEO of Weave.

The Young Women’s Leadership Program is for people aged 18-26 identifying as female or non-binary, and half of the participants are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. They come together once a fortnight to enjoy a meal together, have fun, create new friendships and celebrate culture.

Over the past year, they have attended arts workshops including bead making, painting ceramic pots and cake decorating. They have also enjoyed cultural activities including a yarning circle and basket-weaving, and several excursions including beach picnics, a pasta-making workshop, bush walks and a camp in Stanwell Tops. They also received a special invite from a celebrity chef.

“Kylie Kwong is a supporter of ours and she invited the group to come to her restaurant Lucky Kwong in South Eveleigh,” Siobhan says. 

“She talked about her life and the importance of the women in her life to her, and they all shared their stories over a meal. She still asks about the women every time I see her.” 

The response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, with participants saying it has given them confidence, helped boost their self-esteem and – most importantly – given them a safe space to just be themselves and feel supported. 

One participant said: “My life feels full, I feel accepted, connected and supported. My confidence grows, my community grows and my heart is full. These groups brighten my life.”

“The women in the group are really close and have developed friendships beyond just a fortnightly get-together,” Siobhan says. “They all have their own struggles but they’re just really good support for each other.”

The funding the Young Women’s Leadership Program has received from Sydney Community Foundation will help pay for staffing and facilitators, workshops and events. 

“This program is so important and you really need the resources; getting someone in to teach the women weaving or mosaic, or paying for food and accommodation so they can go on a camp. These women deserve to have these nice opportunities – and then they give back to their communities too.”

Siobhan says that as an organisation Weave is hugely committed to their community and is always led by their needs, first and foremost.

“Weave is all about strands of connection in life, what keeps us well and together and supported, and also connotates the way people weave in and out of the programs, services and supports that we offer.

“Hand on heart I can say that everything we’ve done has been in response to what the community is telling us they need from us – and how we can add value. As a place-based organisation we are very committed to the communities that we are part of and have a strong long-term commitment to work alongside them to create transformative change.”

To support the Sydney Women’s Fund and programs like the Weave Young Women’s Leadership Program donate here.

All donations $2 and over are tax deductible.

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