About the Programme

Our Own Stories is a creative self-development programme for women. It is essentially about the stories we tell ourselves and each other about being women.

Developed by Safe Ground in consultation with women in prison, it is designed to enable participants to explore ways to experience conflict without violence or abandonment, to challenge themselves and each other, and to engage with their own experiences of attachment, family relationships, trauma or support. This way, women develop their skills, confidence, and goals in a safe, secure and consistent space.

Female facilitators use concepts of attachment, relationships, and identity as part of a holistic design to address the issues or circumstances contributed by participants. In this way, it provides an essential and often unique opportunity for women to work collectively around problems that may be distinct. Relationships, VAWG, mental health, substance misuse, housing and financial security are common themes.

Programme Structure

Length: 3 days

Duration: 3 sessions (5 hours), or 6 sessions (2 hours)

Frequency: Delivered on a full-time (3 full consecutive days in-person) or a part-time basis (6 weekly 2 hour sessions online)

Group Size: 4-8 participants

Staff: 2 x Programme Facilitators

Delivery Mode: Quality assurance (train the trainer), Co-Delivery and Direct Delivery models are available

Key Elements

  • Two skilled female facilitators
  • A female-only group
  • Therapeutic group space
  • An accompanying Our Own Stories journal for all participants
  • A presentation to an invited audience at the end of the programme
  • Alumni network available to participants who complete the programme

Impact and Evidence

98% of participants told us that they were more likely to visit the women’s centre after participating in Our Own Stories, Minerva, 2019.

100% of participants said they would recommend the group to others and said the group met their expectations, Minerva, 2019.


“It felt different to be able to talk to other people and share experiences… I think that women often don’t have any form of outlet, and this group allowed me to say things and come out of my shell.” Participant, Minerva

“This was the best morning I have spent in prison ever.” Participants at HMP Send.

 “I really appreciated being able to speak to someone who had been through similar experiences to me. It sometimes feels like nobody wants to hear my voice, so it was nice to talk to someone who understands.” Participant, Minerva.

 “I’d never imagined I’d stand up and perform in front of the other women. Thank you for showing me I can.” Participant at HMP Styal.

“It pushed me to do things I’d never done before, like role play. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t have done all this creative work if it wasn’t in the group – it’s amazing. I’ve added something to myself and am proud of what I’ve overcome.”  Participant, Minerva.

Find Out More

Get in touch by email to speak to a member of our team safe.ground@socialinterestgroup.org.uk