How KYRA is coping
On January 15th our speaker was Rosemary Cook CBE, Interim CEO of KYRA.
Rosemary took the helm at KYRA in September and it was an opportunity for us to hear how the organisation has been coping in the present emergency.
She comes from an impressive background covering 15 years in the charitable sector after starting out in the Department of Health. Rosemary served as CEO of the Queen’s Nursing Trust and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. Having only taken over in September 2020, Rosemary showed how quickly she had settled in to the post and emphasised how she was appreciating the direct contact with the members rather than the indirect approach in her previous organisations.
KYRA is an organisation for women run by women devoted to providing an holistic, but nonmedical, approach to empowering women to be able to participate in a full life in the community. It works with women in York and the surrounding area and Rosemary told us that the work had extended recently to include the surrounding villages where isolation could have caused situations to deteriorate for some.
Using a lot of volunteer supporters, the support for members is provides in a whole range of different ways from drop-in sessions to phone contact including activities such as walking groups and Spanish lessons. Opportunities are given to express feeling through art work, writing and singing; all designed to help the building of confidence.
It was salutary to learn the KYRA has 1400 women on the database and each week works with over 350 members. The organisation does concentrate on the holistic approach and where relevant and helpful does work with charities where more specific support can be given.
York Rotary has supported KYRA in several ways since its founding seven years ago and recently we were able to support in the publication of a book of poems and writings by their members. Members are encouraged to express their feelings in writings and poems and KYRA wanted to publish their work as a real confidence boost for them and to help others in turn.
It was good to learn that the organisation has thrived throughout the pandemic by use of zoom or phone contact, sometimes supplying equipment to enable this to happen, but also concerning to hear how necessary support organisations like KYRA are in our times.