Christine Lumsdon: improving wellbeing for women and girls through farming
Christine Lumsdon (CF 1969) from Newcastle is an occupational therapist and a member of Soroptimist International, a charity that works to improve the lives of women and girls in communities throughout the world. During the pandemic, Christine has been an advisor to West End Women and Girls Centre (WEWC) in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, which has recently taken on a 10-acre smallholding in rural Northumberland from the National Trust, for the benefit of its members.
Christine will use her funding to help set up a large outdoor farm space, where women and girls from the local area can grow food, look after their wellbeing through access to nature, and build friendships in a safe community. The funding will provide transport to enable 1,000 women and girls from WEWC's membership to regularly access the farm between January and December 2022 for weekly and school holiday trips. It will also support the purchase and installation of materials needed to grow produce in this space, including a large polytunnel and rainwater irrigation system. WEWC's community has experienced rising mental health problems, poverty, domestic abuse and inequality during the pandemic, and Christine hopes this project will enable them to feed their families whilst putting mental and physical wellbeing at the heart of Covid-19 recovery.
Christine’s Fellowship to the USA in 1969 explored integration and access to civilian life for injured servicemen and women.