Welcome to CWHC
Our Centre and History:
Cumberland Women’s Health Centre (CWHC) is a non-profit community based organisation which was established 26 years ago to provide women’s health services and domestic violence specialist response services to women in the Parramatta, Cumberland and Baulkham Hills area.
In the beginning CWHC was actually Cumberland Women’s Health Association; and was a group of local women and representatives from different organisation in the Parramatta, Cumberland and the Baulkham Hills area who were concerned about the gaps in service provision for women’s health. The Association was formed on the 15th of December 1986 at a meeting for the Western Sydney Area Assistance Scheme.
In 1988, in order to justify the need for a Women’s Centre, the Association conducted a survey with local Health Workers to establish gaps in services for women’s health. The five biggest health issues that women were presenting to Health Workers with were: stress, depression, relationship problems, parenting problems, and anxiety. Armed with this knowledge the Association set out to develop a service that would target these issues. The association also recruited supported from the local women by having them sign a petition for a Women’s Centre (105 signatures in total were gathered) and by having other services write to the Health Minister at the time asking for a Women’s Centre.
The hard work payed off, the Association National Day of Action Against Sexual Assault 1993 – Sarah Stewart (Co-Ordinator) successfully applied for funding to start a Woman’s Centre under the 1988/89 Western Sydney Area Assistance Scheme (WSAAS). At the beginning the Centre was a one woman show run by Lynette Pugh, until 1990 when the Association became an incorporated body and received two more grants form WSAAS for a Domestic Violence worker and an Outreach Women’s Health worker before funding was picked up by New South Wales Women’s Health. On the 8th of December 1997 the Centre applied for a name change to reflect the nature of the organisation, it was a Centre for women’s health.
When the Centre first started in the early 90’s focus was placed upon providing services surrounding anti-violence towards women (particularly domestic violence), support for new and emerging groups within the community and activities for the elderly. The Centre recognised these areas as ones where there were gaps in service provision, especially with the provision of crisis assistance in the 4 Cumberland regions. These areas still remain the focus of the Centre today.