A group of young women who have been leading a girls’ only group, as part of the UK Youth initiative EMPOWHER, have secured funding to continue their great work. What better way to close one chapter and launch another than a residential weekend away?
EmpowHER is a social action programme established to increase self-esteem, build confidence and wellbeing in young women and girls and ultimately inspire them to lead change in their communities through inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities. The programme addresses the worryingly low levels of wellbeing amongst young women and girls in the UK and supports them to have a voice, be heard and give back to their local communities.
Funding from UK Youth has enabled The Boathouse Youth to deliver this project for 16 girls Aged 12 – 16 who have been in the driving seat for the whole journey. The group have been focussing on issues that specifically affect young women, with a view to creating openness around discussions of topics that might cause limiting perceptions of themselves. This has included sessions around body-image, puberty, sexual harrassment and social media.
Initially the project received just £1,000 from UK Youth to launch, but following its success has now secured a further £17,500 to develop the project and take it to the next level.
Sensitive discussions and conversations around all things female require our Youth Workers to develop exceptional relationships with the young people. The first, and most important step, in this process is gaining the trust and confidence of the group by simply providing them with space and time in the right environment. Another critical success factor has been to ensure that the young people make all the significant decisions. The group met weekly and have also planned and participated in trips to Ingleton Falls and a fancy meal at The Cozy Club in Manchester.
One young woman, who had recently started her periods, reported that she felt much more confident about the changes that were happening in her body. She now feels confident talking to her friends and family about these topics and knows how to access support.
Following a Quality Assurance visit, UK Youth had this to say:
“The staff at The Boathouse Youth have gone above and beyond the guidance. It was amazing to see how youth led the programme is. It was clear that the girls picked their own curriculum topics and social action ideas, and that they felt passionate about it. There’s nothing that could be improved in my opinion!”.Holly Hendrie, UK Youth.
As part of the group’s social action work they discussed the issues they faced around sharing their sex education lesson with boys in school. They wrote a letter to headteachers across Blackpool asking for them to consider providing single-sex sex education lessons and accessible sanitary products.
The group’s most recent adventure has been to PGL at Winmarleigh Hall near Garstang. This was a destination chosen by the group who also designed the programme of activities throughout the weekend. This included canoeing, fencing, team-building activities and even a giant swing!
We are delighted to announce that further funding has been secured from UK Youth and the NHS to continue the girls’ group for the foreseeable future, with a specific focus towards their improved health and wellbeing. It is hoped that more young women will be attracted to participate in the programme and its social impact will further develop.