A women's-only wellbeing group has started up in Great Yarmouth - and one of the users said it "really does make a difference".

Simmone Taylor and Claire Smith

Simmone Taylor and Claire Smith. Two volunteers with Mandalay Wellbeing CIC.

- Credit: James Weeds

Mandalay Wellbeing CIC, which is located on Victoria Arcade, has been acting as a food bank and advice centre for Great Yarmouth people in poverty since 2017.

Recently, the social enterprise has been running a women's only group for help and advice.

Managing director, Trevor Saunders, 55, said: "When we distribute food and other things, it seemed as if some women users of the service were uncomfortable picking up sanitary products from the door way. So, me and other volunteers decided it would be best to try a different approach.

Trevor Saunders

Trevor Saunders is keen to keep helping people in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk and Waveney areas.

- Credit: James Weeds

"We have wellbeing sessions, as well as distribution of sanitary products. Our support group aims to empower women and help them feel more confident to come outside."

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Mandalay volunteer, Simmone Taylor, 33, said: "With the ladies today, we have performed some breathing exercises to enhance mental wellbeing and tackle anxiety and panic attacks. We can also apply that to yoga as we go along through the sessions. We have also provided some simple exercises for the ladies to take home to try and improve flexibility."

The sessions also include quizzes, talks about employment, volunteering and further education.

"Towards the end of the session, we will be offering food parcels and sanitary products, if they are required," Miss Taylor said.

"The sanitary products are available six days a week, so women don't have to wait until distribution days."

Two volunteers at Mandalay Wellbeing.

Bethany Amelia Wales and Klare Thomas Burton volunteering at Mandalay Wellbeing CIC.

- Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

Service user, Danielle Heptinstall said: "There are a lot of people that need assistance like this.

"Doing the women's sessions is great. The breathing exercises, just meeting people, it all helps.

"Support groups like this really do make a difference."

Women's sessions take place on Fridays at 9:30 until 11:30am.

A volunteer by a crate of food parcels.

Judy Banks is one of 18 volunteers at Mandalay Wellbeing CIC.

- Credit: Mandalay Wellbeing CIC

Mr Saunders also discussed other projects Mandalay Wellbeing are currently involved with: "We've now distributed over 25,000 food parcels across Norfolk and Waveney, and look forward to continue providing assistance like this.

"We also give advice on interviews, as well as loans for suits for people to use as part of our employment initiative."

For more information on Mandalay Wellbeing CIC,  email: [email protected]

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