Chronically Creative – This project sprouted from our Chai and Chat gatherings. Our goal was to foster a positive environment for discussing menstrual, maternal, and mental health, employing arts-based therapy to counteract the isolation many community members experience. For example, we’ve curated a zine spotlighting the stories and journeys of our members and organized candle-making sessions. Participants consistently express a heightened sense of community and depart feeling uplifted, having found a space to openly discuss their challenges while also embracing joy and resilience.

Marginalized and Menopausal

This is an ongoing initiative dedicated to tackling the increasing health concerns surrounding menopause within marginalized communities. From participating in intersectional research with various universities across the UK and Ireland to hosting community events that provide a unique perspective on menopause, our aim is to illuminate the menopausal journey for those often marginalized. In May 2024, we successfully organized a community-led event focusing on menopause within racialized communities. This was the first event of its kind, and was visited by Dame Lesley Regen to lend her support. We delved into topics such as surgical menopause, early menopause, and perimenopause, exploring how these experiences vary across different groups.

Cysters Smear

In response to Public Health England’s concerning revelation of a significant decline in cervical screening participation, Cysters is taking proactive steps to reverse this trend. Our initiative involves community engagement aimed at debunking misconceptions surrounding cervical screening. Through culturally sensitive and age-appropriate drop-in clinics, staffed by our trained nurses and in collaboration with partners such as the eve appeal, we aim to empower individuals to prioritize their health and access vital screening services.

Our Cysters – Period Poverty

We’re dedicated to tackling period poverty in the West Midlands by collecting and distributing menstrual products to those in need, no questions asked. Teaming up with organizations like Hey Girls, we provide support to diverse groups and individuals across the region. This endeavor depends wholly on the commitment of volunteers throughout the area. To highlight the scale of the problem, in just one weekend, we distributed over 6000 menstrual products, emphasizing the ongoing necessity of our work.

Cysters Research and Outreach

Over time, we’ve come to understand that without the solid foundation of data, statistics, and research supporting our observations at ground level, we can’t effectively influence policy changes or allocate resources to marginalized groups. Without thorough research into these communities, policies and interventions will invariably cater to the needs of the majority. Our aim is to transform the nature of research from being elitist and academic, often inaccessible to communities, to community-led research, where members themselves guide and drive the research process, ensuring it’s relevant and actionable for them.