Bristol Women’s Voice Wonderful Women Award’s were presented as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations on the 3rd of March. We celebrated over 50 women from across Bristol who had been nominated for their contribution to their communities, each week you can find out more about one of these Wonderful Women.
Heidi Simpson received a Wonderful Women award for her extraordinary commitment to her community in Sea Mills. She helped set up, and now jointly manages the Café on the Square, a venue that has developed a reputation for successful community engagement, she has led community events and local fundraisers (including a successful attempt at creating the largest ever knitted tea cosy).
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell myself to go out and do fun stuff all the time with all the people in all the places for as long as I’m able to and have the energy and inclination. A few years ago I spent a year fighting an aggressive cancer in my body and it meant I spent a lot of time sitting or lying down so there were some things I just couldn’t physically do. I missed even the idea of running a marathon even if I’d never had the intention of actually doing one.
Which women have inspired you?
I’m inspired by so many women in my life. My Mum, who’s the kindest person I know. My two daughters who are incredibly determined and independent. My community, which is full of women who quietly get on with life despite facing many difficult situations.
What do you want to see change for women in Bristol?
Mental health provision for women in Bristol is, sadly, like in many other cities across the country, woefully inadequate. Women only homeless shelters, mother and baby hostels, fast easy access to professionals dealing in mental health and support – all scarce or non existent. We need to invest in the women who are struggling and not just in the ones who shout the loudest. Young women and girls are watching what we do and how we treat members of our society right now. Are we good role models? Do they aspire to what we stand for?
Are there three words you would use to describe your local community?
Generous, Friendly and AWESOME.
What hopes do you have for your local community in 2018?
To recognise the massive need for people to just love one another. To care for the last, the least, the lost and the forgotten in our community because life is so much nicer that way.
Heidi Simpson at International Women’s day © Evoke Pictures