Fancy having your own island for a day? Safe and Sound Dorset did!

Published on 20 March, 2024

To celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March 2024, conservation charity, National Trust UK, turned the island of Brownsea, Poole, into a sanctuary of safety and freedom for women at risk in Bournemouth by giving them the exclusive right to roam the island.

The National Trust saw an opportunity to link its Outdoor Activities Programme with the needs of vulnerable women in Bournemouth after the Trust found out about Safe and Sound Dorset’s work through local infrastructure charity Community Action Network. Safe and Sound Dorset, One of CANs Community Heroes in the Spotlight this month, were eager to get involved.

To extend its reach, engage with more people and involve them in preserving their local beauty, the National Trust works with local charities to ensure that its work is community-focused and meets the needs of the people who live in or visit these protected places.

Vulnerable women in Boscombe expect to find a safe space at Safe and Sound Dorset, but as one woman said, the island was a once-in-a-lifetime experience: “I did a lot of firsts: tree hugging, bark rubbings, journaling … I felt like layers of me were parting with light shining through”.

This safe and private visit to Brownsea Island allowed the women at risk in Bournemouth to take their place in protecting the heritage of their community, while the natural beauty of their community played its own role in their recovery process.

Community Action Network (CAN) is an infrastructure charity which connects local charities to other local and national ones. If you have a community which deserves an island all to itself, then contact CAN’s Engagement Lead