The way this person came into my life proves to me that you never know the effect that you are having on something else, without even speaking to them! Our non-meeting happened at a business thing, I missed out on speaking to her when I had to leave before the lunch and mingling started. However, the person’s infectious laugh meant that she stuck in my mind, and when I was thinking about upgrading my non-existent fitness regime, she was the first person who came to mind.
Anyone who knows me will be well aware of the herculean task that Jackie took on when she agreed to train me for four months. I am not good at exercising if there isn’t anyone pushing me, so although the sessions went well, and there were definite improvements, between times I mainly sat on my butt and ate nonsense. Luckily, Jackie didn’t hold that against me, and as we got to know each other I got to see just what a ball of energy she is. This month I am sharing the inspirational Jackie Grant chair of the Waltham Forest Women’s Network, and owner of We Grant Fitness & Health. Enjoy.
Part of the reason I enjoyed working with Jackie so much was her understanding of stress and anxiety, and how this can hold back your fitness and wellness goals. This kind of genuine understanding often comes from someone’s struggles, and Jackie explained that stress and anxiety had been a major factor in leaving her previous role in Senior Management with the Drug and alcohol service. For me when someone you admire who seems to have everything under control shares their own struggles I get a boost, if it can happen to them I can feel better about myself. It reminds me that you never know what someone else is going through until you really connect, and that there is bound to be someone out there thinking that you are the person who has it all together.
It was later when doing a Menopause and fitness first aid training course that Jackie realised that these issues and her plummeting confidence around that time was related to the perimenopause. And a passion for connecting women, who were going through similar issues through their menopause journey was born. Jackie didn’t want other women to feel alone and knew that getting their questions answered about the transition of menopause, and that great information about nutrition, mindset and movement throughout menopause would make a massive difference.
This connecting of women started not long after, while at a local women’s meeting (E4 Women in Business) members were encouraged to write their goals for the coming year, and when Jackie read hers aloud – to bring a Menopause Café to the local area, a local reflexologist, Ginette White, had the same idea so they joined forces to get the project started.
During lockdown the café had to go on hold, but as things re-opened Jackie was approached by the Chair of Waltham Forest Women’s Network, a community-based organisation started in 2005, by a group of local women passionate about empowering local women through bringing them together.
They wanted to know when Jackie planned to restart the Menopause café. She told them that she was looking for a host and would then be able to restart it. WFWN loved the idea so much, and it fitted perfectly with their vision to empower and connect women to each other to support them to lead healthy and happy lives, that they asked Jackie to become a committee member, and the café was relaunched as a collaboration.
In 2022 Waltham Forest Women’s Network won the Waltham Forest for All award at the Pride of Waltham Forest Awards. It was such an honour as these awards acknowledge and thank the people in the community who go above and beyond, whether they’re the quiet heroes or the stars of their local neighbourhood. And the award, which is open to all groups whose projects or activities have worked across multiple faith or community groups to bring these groups closer together recognises outstanding community work by an organisation or group.
Since that initial collaboration Jackie has become the Chair of WFWN, and as always she has big plans for the future, which include continuing to connect women within the borough through different activities. Continuing with her Menopause & Women’s health café, and expanding out to look at different women’s health issues that need further support. She is also building a new project which includes both nutrition, mindset, menopause, movement on a membership site so that she can reach women worldwide to make sure they have access to the information they need about this important part of their lives.
Now you understand exactly why I wanted to tell you about Jackie, her drive and determination to make all women’s lives better makes her a truly inspirational person.
Find out more about her and her work here: