August 25, 2023

We won the lottery!

Yaaay – we had great news today that one of our collaborating partners has been granted funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and we feel like we won too.

When I saw the subject line Good news- you got the funding I stopped breathing and screamed!

Oh my goodness. I am so excited. The Menopause Group CIC are now proud members of the National Lottery Community Project family. This did not happen easily, let me tell you.

The story of this success started 3 years ago when I was first creating my vision for The Menopause School, whilst writing the Menopause Doula Training Course. My plan of building a global collective of Menopause Doulas was just a dream, but I started to share this concept with others. They were all very kind and generous saying what a great idea it was, and how much it was needed. These positive responses encouraged me to forge ahead. One person suggested that the project would be very worthy of Lottery funding and perhaps I could develop something for local communities within the framework of the bigger picture. Wow, I had no idea that would be possible.

My first attempt at the application did not go as planned. I’ll be honest, the process is much more complicated than it appears on paper. But, here we are now 2 years on, with lots more experience, a solid framework to build on, and an action plan to create a lasting change.

The working title is The Menopause Evolution. The narrative around menopause has certainly changed over the last 7 years that I have been studying and writing about it. However, the details that are focussed on are still very much stuck in a ‘menopause just happens’ kind of loop. My project will widen the conversation and include menstrual health, not only menopause well-being.

During my journey of dogged determination to get to the golden nugget of ‘Why don’t we talk about menopause?’ I came to realise that it’s more about ‘How should we talk about menopause?’. I read about a school headteacher a few years ago who sent an email to sixth-form girl students telling them that they ‘can’t have days off for painful periods, as it is just part of being a woman’. OMG, I fell off my chair, sat open mouth, you name it I was in a state of shock. But, sat there in front of me that was the golden nugget I was looking for as it suddenly hit me –

The story of menoapuse starts with the story of menstruation. We don’t talk about menopause because we don’t talk about menstruation, and we don’t talk about menstruation, because no one taught us how to.

Fiona Catchpowle, Creator & Founder, The Menopause School

The solution to improve long-term health outcomes therefore is quite simple. Teach people about the menstrual health journey from periods, to perimenopause and beyond. No one with an ovarian system is ever taught how to manage their menstrual health. Menstrual health is every single day of a menstruator’s life, driven by the ovaries and the brain, not only the 7 days or so of bleeding. The journey along the hormone highway would be much easier to understand and manage effectively if menstruators had the knowledge they need to make informed choices.

There’s a lot of work to do but I know we can do it. I am looking forward to the next few months as we lay out, and implement the vision in my local community and connect with other organisations to help us make a lasting change.

Fiona Catchpowle

Let’s start the story of menopause in a better place

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