These New Calendar Girls Have A Menopause Message For Everyone

HealthMind & Body

A group from the North Yorkshire coast is leading the way in making a dramatic improvement to women’s lives by lifting the lid on issues they face during the menopause.

Menopause Meet formed at the Hub community centre in Newby and Scalby this year, offering 10 two-hour sessions in which 12 women shared their stories about how the menopause affected them, as well as receiving expert advice.

The women met as strangers, but so strong are the bonds they forged that – inspired by the famous Kettlewell WI Calendar Girls – they are producing their own tastefully nude calendar to increase awareness, raise funds and support women.

This comes amid calls for the Government to make the menopause a protected characteristic and to require employers to provide reasonable adjustments for menopausal employees. The cross-party House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee says employers’ lack of support for menopausal symptoms is pushing highly skilled and experienced women out of work, with knock-on effects on the gender pay gap, pension gap and the number of women in senior positions.

The initial idea for Menopause Meet came from Tina Boden, then micro-business consultant for the Hub, a community centre run by Newby and Scalby Town Council. She championed a grant application to North Yorkshire County Council’s stronger communities team, which helps communities to help themselves. This secured £1,000 to start the group. 

But the driving force behind the group and the calendar is Helen King, the head of support services at the Hub.

“Tina stepped out and I took on devising the group,” she said. “Initially, it was going to be a group of ladies getting together to talk about the menopause. However, just after we were awarded the grant, there was a Davina McCall programme about the menopause.” 

■ Misses March, Karen and Rachel, taking their kit off for the camera at Scarborough Rugby Union Football Club

The programme, Sex, Myths and the Menopause, saw the TV presenter tell her menopause story and tackle taboos from sex to hormone treatment.

“I realised we needed to be dealing with other issues, not just sitting around talking,” said Helen King. “So I contacted our gynaecology consultant at the hospital, who agreed to be my clinical support for this course. She spoke about what happens to a woman’s body during the menopause. It was amazing. She stepped in and out during the 10 sessions, forming a bond.

“On week one these ladies walked into the room, some of them quite broken and in need of help. We threw the tissues up and down the table in the first two or three weeks. I think it’s the pinnacle of my career to see these women at the end of 10 sessions empowered, resolved – because many of them had been to their GPs and knew exactly what to say – and able to talk to husbands, partners, work colleagues, each other, without it being taboo.”

The idea for the calendar arose from a trip by Helen King to see Calendar Girls on stage. The members of Menopause Meet responded enthusiastically.

The calendar is being shot around Newby and Scalby, and each page will include a menopause fact, useful links and a large area in which women can note anything from appointments to how they are feeling.

“It is going to be very much for ladies around the country, not just locally,” she said. “We hope sales will fund events like train the trainer groups, giving employees from larger companies a full day of training that they can take back to the workplace and form their own support groups.”

For details of how to buy a calendar, visit; or to put your name down for future groups contact Helen King at; or on 07849 69 03 27.

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