The Women of the West

Illustration of women and children
The Women of the West (WOW) is a program developed by Odyssey House Victoria in the western suburbs for women with concerns about their substance use. We piloted the program in late 2019, though the second group had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. This program is unique as it provides women with a safe place to build their social connections through recreational activities like exercise and music classes. There have been outings such as trips to the Collingwood Farm and nature walks. In addition to helping women build a social network, the activities also improve their health and wellbeing. The women targeted for the WOW program have often experienced socio-economic challenges, violent relationships with men, and don’t have access to as many resources to assist with their recovery. They are often mothers or have carer responsibilities that mean they can be isolated and experience loneliness. The WOW group offers the women a chance to build new friendships and support as they work on managing their problematic substance use. The first program was a great success with 10 women completing the course. The program ran for one hour per week over seven weeks. We are currently seeking funding so that we can run another group for the Women of the West in 2023.