Harriet Harman addresses city women’s group

Harriet Harman, 2nd left, shadow deputy prime minister, meets volunteers and service users at the Wo

Harriet Harman, 2nd left, shadow deputy prime minister, meets volunteers and service users at the Women's Centre in Colegate. From left, Jessica Asato, Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Norwich North; Samantha Eadie, volunteer; Rachael Byrne, executive director Stonham; Liz Righton, (back), service user; and Sandi Lang, service user and volunteer. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Harriet Harman travelled to Norwich yesterday as a warm-up visit for her nationwide woman's tour – where she hopes to encourage women to vote in the up-and-coming general election.

The deputy labour leader spent time talking to women who used the service provided by or volunteered at the 4women Centre – also known as the Norwich Women's Centre – on Colegate.

At the round-table event, Ms Harman – who will be travelling the country in a pink bus – said: 'It's been really inspiring to meet the woman who came to the centre from different backgrounds to this sage and comforting environment.'

The centre is home to the Sweet Arts group which supports vulnerable women through creative fun and Ms Harman was shown some of the work produced.

She said: 'You can imagine the woman doing their crafts together and producing something amazing and providing support.'

Norwich North's Jessica Asato also attended the event. She will be combining caring for her first child, Freya, who was born in December, with a fight against incumbent Chloe Smith in May.

With an estimated 850,000 women over the age of 18 in the East of England in 2010 not voting in the election, the politician's aim for the tour is to encourage women to have a voice and cast their vote.

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She added: 'We want to hear from women. There were 850,000 thousand reasons why women did not vote in 2010 but we need to listen to them and let them have their say.

'This tour is very much about listening to people as well as broadcasting.'

Sam Eadie, from Old Catton, who used the 4women Centre and is now a volunteer, said: 'It's nice to have an important figure in the community come and see what we do and listen to us.

'We don't get heard as much as we should.'