Thursday, January 19, 2017

TENANT TIPS: Siren’s Three Tenant Tips for Hosting the Perfect Event in 2017

54 St James Street is home to a whole network of incredible expertise and creativity. Tenant Tips is a blog series where we sit down with a tenant and delve into their exceptional knowledge to share with you. We have already spoke to Steve Flatt from the Psychological Therapies Unit to find out his tips on encouraging good mental health in the workplace, and Ian Fitzpatrick for his tips on saving time and money on document printing. This month we are speaking to the faces behind our on-site cafe and everyone’s favourite, Siren.

Jeni Wadkin and Natalie Hardman moved into our building over three years ago to an empty kitchen space on our ground floor and made it their very own. Today, Siren has a whole team of food-passionate individuals who whip up a delicious, homemade and hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner for many of the Baltic community, daily.

You may know it best as your lunch time food-run, with a vast and extensive menu that caters to all of your cravings. What some of you may not know is that the Siren team are also events specialists that hold many creatively, wonderful events to suit their client’s needs. From parties, celebrations, gig space, wedding receptions, corporate events and networking, Siren really is the perfect venue for all occasions. Whether it’s organising sparklers and mulled wine on the fourth floor balcony, holding a barn-themed dance under the stars, holding picnics in the sun or decking the café out with fairy lights and gingerbread lattes for the colder months, Siren have got it covered.

Jeni & Natalie said: “The high ceilings and glass walls give the space a bright and open feel which transforms into the perfect party venue after dark. Our catering menus are full of fresh and modern buffets, sharing boards and canapés, our food is all home-made and we specialise in providing delicious vegetarian, vegan and special dietary options”

We sat down with Jeni and Natalie to find out their three tips for hosting an event in 2017.

1) Plan Ahead!

“Organisation is key, ensure you have plenty of time to meet with the venue & discuss your requirements. Utilise the venue event co-ordinators expertise - find out what works well in the event space & what seasonal themes you could add; our favourite must be mulled wine & sparklers in our urban garden in colder months! Make sure you send out invites with plenty of time for RSVP’s & be sure to ask for any dietary requirements from your guests.”

2) Entertainment

“Set the mood of your event by booking a band or DJ to get your guests up & dancing or if you are after a more chilled occasion, why not design your own Spotify playlist, personalised to your guests’ musical tastes. Hosting a Christening or Communion party? Why not hire some soft play equipment to tire the little ones out! Get your guests mingling by planning some creative & fun games to get them talking, check out Pinterest for some fab ideas!”


“The big day has arrived, be safe in the knowledge that the event team will look after all the details of your event so that you can sit back, relax & be ready to welcome your guests!”

If you would like to find out more about Siren or enquire about their events space, you can contact the team on 0151 706 8148, or head to . You can also follow Siren on Twitter or like their Facebook page.

If you would like to feature on our blog with your three tips of expertise, please contact!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Reflecting on 21 years of The Women's Organisation & Looking Ahead to the Future

2017 marks a milestone year for The Women’s Organisation, as we are celebrating our 21st birthday! Over the past 21 years, our mission has been to make a positive impact on the lives of women by reaching out and enhancing their role in their own lives, whether that be in the local communities, in business or in the wider world.

 We wanted to level the playing field by offering women the support they need to believe in their abilities and to flourish in both new and existing businesses. We are honoured to say that we have worked with over 50,000 women over the past 21 years, that’s 21 years of women’s economic empowerment. This number is on the incline each day and although there is still a long way to go, we celebrate every success as a step in the right direction towards women’s economic equality.

In our 21 years, we also moved into our new home developed in 2011 as part of the WICED project. 54 St James Street is a flagship facility for enterprise and home to over 200 businesses as well as a meeting and conferencing centre for the wider business community. We are hugely proud of the impact we have made on the Liverpool City Region’s business community.

In true Women’s Organisation style, there will be no shortage of events and announcements throughout the year. We kicked of the celebrations yesterday with a visit from the Chairs of the Women’s Organisation board, Pat Shea Halson & Gill Moglione and an official cake-cutting ceremony, made by none other than our amazing training co-ordinator, Bernie Cox!

The afternoon included lots of photos and a speech from CEO of The Women’s Organisation, Maggie O’Carroll. It was a fantastic day for staff members to reflect on just how far we have come as an organisation. We received hundreds of well wishes from our partners, tenants, neighbours and friends and are hugely grateful for the continued support.

Tying in nicely with our 21st celebrations was also the announcement that we are launching a new 4/8-week personal development programme for the women of Liverpool. ‘Change It: Progress to Success’ is a confidence-building programme, which over the next 3 years will assist over 500 women in building a more positive outlook at home, for work or in relationships, whilst paving the way to a more successful future. We will be working across the city to deliver the programme in a number of Children’s Centres, as well as at 54 St James Street, home of The Women’s Organisation. You can find out more by reading our blog here.

We are now recruiting for the first intake of ‘Change It’ which starts the week commencing 6th February. So if you are woman who would like to attend, or you have someone you would like to refer please get in touch today by contacting our team at The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or

We have a lot of exciting things planned for the year ahead, so keep your eyes peeled for more 21st announcements! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Change It and Progress to Success with our NEW Personal Development Programme

EXCITING NEWS! The Women’s Organisation is proud to be launching a brand new confidence building programme for the women of Liverpool.

We believe that your attitude determines your direction, ‘Change It: Progress to Success’ aims to inspire women to feel more confident about what they can achieve and discover the way towards building a more positive outlook in all aspects of their life.
If you are a woman living in Liverpool and would like the opportunity to learn more about yourself, and take your first steps towards building the future that YOU want, alongside likeminded women, this 8-week programme may be for you.

The course will cover many topics including becoming more assertive, breaking negative thinking habits, managing change and setting achievable goals. We encourage you to think about what you would like to change and then help you to believe you can do it.  In addition to the courses, we have a dedicated team of advisers who can continue to work with you on a 1-2-1 basis to help you ‘change it’!

If you have completed our ‘Become a More Confident You’ or our ‘Planning for Success’ course and left feeling you wanted more, ‘Change It: Progress to Success’ touches on many of the same ideas but offers a more in-depth and extended approach to personal development.

We are delighted to have the support of local Children’s Centre’s on this project and will be delivering in a number of their centres across Liverpool, as well as here at 54 St James Street, home of The Women’s Organisation.

Courses will be delivered in the following areas:

The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, L1 0AB
Everton Children’s Centre, Spencer Street, L6 2WF
Picton Children’s Centre, Earle Road, L7 6HD
Speke Children’s Centre, Conleach Road, L24 0TW
Granby Children’s Centre, Eversley Street, L8 2TU

Delivery starts on Monday 6th February, with full dates and times on the links below:

The Women’s Organisation – Monday 6th February, 10:00am – 3:00pm
Everton Children’s Centre – Wednesday 8th February, 9:30am – 11:30am
Picton Children’s Centre – Monday 6th February, 9:30am – 11:30am
Speke Children’s Centre – Tuesday 7Th February, 9:30am – 11:30am
Granby Children’s Centre – Friday 10th February, 9:30am – 11:30am

We recently ran a similar course called ‘Change It: Tools for Change’. Feedback from women attending this course included:

“I’m taking away self-belief in my own ability. I feel what I embark on, I can achieve. I’m hopeful for the future.”

“There’s no pressure here. It’s informal with no role play. The stuff you want to do to move on, that is what’s offered here.”

“I leave here and I feel fired up. I never go home and get back in my bed and pull the quilt over my head, usually I will do something.”

“This course has motivated me to pursue what I want to. I used to look at things negatively, now I look at them positively.”

“The leader of the course has been so welcoming. She is really genuine, down to earth and can put people at ease.”

We intend to work with over 500 women over the next three-years, developing confidence and helping women to see their true potential.

If you are a woman who would like to book a place or find out more about the programme, please contact our engagement team on 0151 706 8111 or email

If you are an organisation who is working with women and you would like to refer then also please contact us on the details above to discuss. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sabah's Top Tips For Starting A Childcare Business

Over the next coming months we are calling on the expertise of our fantastic team here at The WO to provide you with their top tips on all manner of business orientated topics! First up we asked Engagement Officer; Sabah Shams what her top tips are for starting up a childcare business. Read on to find out what she said! 

Sabah on her 10th anniversary at The WO
The childcare market encompasses many forms of businesses, including: childminding, after school clubs and nurseries. It is approximated that the nursery market alone in the UK is worth £4.9 billion.

The childcare market is one that is continuously growing but is highly fragmented; with many individuals setting up privately ran businesses. Are you interested in setting up a childcare business, or is it something you’re considering? Well, continue reading to find out about our top tips to make you venture a success! 

What are the prerequisites?

Enthusiasm and motivation is key! Childcare business is demanding but at the same time rewarding. Working with children for long hours really requires patience and determination, so if you think you possess the above then childcare business is for you! 

What do the experts say?

From our recent event ‘How to make childcare your business?’, we had a successful woman sharing their experience of setting up a nursery. She described that looking after children requires extreme commitment and is for those with great passion. At the event it was highlighted that childcare is very different to looking after your own children. 

The real success of a childcare business especially nurseries is not measured by how much revenue you have (which is important for a sustainable business), but what makes it worth it is the positive impact you have on the development of children! 

Why is market research so important?

As mentioned above this business sector is highly fragments therefore it is super important to have knowledge of what you contemporaries are providing and how you can make yourself stand out and shine! 

Further, another important aspect is knowing what is in demand and where is the market, so conducting market research can enable you from choosing what avenue to go down.

What qualifications, insurance and experience do I need?

This all varies depending on which sub-sect of childcare you’d like to set up. 

Childminding: this does not require any formal qualification, all you need is approved pre-registration course, OFSTED registration (this encompasses many things, for more information please visit the OFSTED website) and insurance. Remember you can look after other children while looking after yours in the comfort of your home, without requiring a large amount to invest! 

Day Nursery: this is a bit more complex and unlike childminding requires an investment (amount varies). OFSTED registration is required again but for Early Years (for more information please visit the OFSTED website), NVQ Level 3 and 2 years’ experience, along with appropriate insurance. 

Out Of School Club: OFSTED registration is required is children will be staying for more than 2 hours per day. If you require OFSTED registration NVQ Level 3 qualification is a prerequisite. Regardless of registration, insurance is important and a must! 

Hope that helps those of you thinking about childcare businesses! If you have any more questions or would like to see one of our fantastic business advisors please call us on 0151 706 8111 or email us on:  

Until next time - Empower others, yourself and make a change! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Florentyna Sidery Becomes Television Star With W.O Start-Up Support!

Florentyna Sidery is a force to be reckoned with, and by her own admissions would like to be known as; ‘The girl who did it all and went on this great adventure!’ And an adventure she has certainly been having! When we interviewed Florentyna back in December she had just returned from China, possibly having just finished one of the greatest adventures an entrepreneur can take part in! Florentyna had just finished filming for a new up and coming television show; Pop Up, Start Up’

Florentyna Sidery
CNBC, the world’s leading business and financial news network has teamed up with expert’s in small and medium business e-commerce and an award winning London video agency Hub to create ‘Pop Up Start Up’ which debuted in December. The series follows 12 aspiring manufacturing entrepreneurs as they go head to head to win a £20,000 cash prize. In each episode, two candidates are given seed money and challenged to mass produce and sell their products in a pop up shop, with the contestant who makes the most profit each week, winning the £20,000 prize.

And when we spoke to Florentyna she had just returned from China having filmed her episode of ‘Pop Up, Start Up’ but we will have to wait until the big reveal to find out how Florentyna did in the competition! Florentyna’s business; ‘Florentyna’ sells luxury loungewear which she describes as; ‘Bringing glamour back to the boudoir’ and ‘Loungerie for when you want to wear more than just Chanel No.5’, echoing the glamourous movie icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, this is high end, beautifully tailored loungewear.

The Hollywood Peignoir in Tiffany Blue
Prior to starting her business Florentyna attained a degree in Film and Drama from Bath University before moving to Liverpool for a job in Sales and Marketing. ‘I quickly progressed and became a manager. At one point I was the number one saleswoman in the country, but I just wasn’t happy. It was a great job that taught me a lot, but with 18 hour days and 6 days a week, it was very intense.’

Florentyna left her job in Sales and Marketing when she realised that it was her own dream that she wanted to build, not someone else’s. ‘I’ve always wanted to have my own business, and I’ve always been interested in lingerie, but I knew that this marketplace was very saturated. I decided to set up on my own and focus firstly on loungewear before tapping into lingerie once I’ve made a name for myself.’

Quite early on Florentyna got in touch with The Women’s Organisation and was paired up with Senior Business Adviser; Claire Pedersen, who she worked closely with to get her business started. Florentyna told us; ‘Claire has been great. She has the patience of a saint! I’ve felt really supported by her and she’s given some really good advice. I’ve really enjoyed working with her.’ As well as this Florentyna was also able to access our courses such as Planning for Success with Training Coordinator; Bernie Cox. ‘I loved this course, because there was so many female entrepreneurs there and we could all feed off each other and encourage one another. All of our businesses are so different and as women we are so different but we were united in trying to set up on our own!’

Once she had set up her business, it was pure coincidence that Florentyna found out about ‘Pop Up, Start Up’ after she got in touch with a woman who had posted about the opportunity on Facebook. ‘I applied and didn’t think anything of it, and then I got through to the next round! 8 rounds later I was in the show, I had to do phone interviews, go to London for interviews, take screen tests, have psychiatric tests and pitch my business.’

Then Florentyna was off to China to compete in the competition and says that we should be keeping our eyes peeled for the results when the show goes live. Not to worry, we will! And we’ll be sure to let all our readers know how she got on.

Now Florentyna is back in England she is continuing to focus on her business and believes that self-employment is perfect for her. ‘I love running my own business, mainly because of how creative it allows me to be. I get to work on photo shoots, work on the marketing, and I can envision how I want something to look and work towards that. For me it allows me to express my creativity and not be suppressed or put into a box.’

And she has some fantastic advice for others who are thinking about starting their own businesses; ‘My advice to others would be to know that you are going to make mistakes, but be sure you learn from them! And also to get the right advice from the right people. In my journey everyone has loved to give me advice, but I needed to know who the right advice would come from and take that on board.’

Florentyna continued to tell us about her business and its visions and values closely align with the feminist message of The Women’s Organisation. ‘The heart of my business is to really empower women and because of that ‘Florentyna Sidery Loungewear’ does not do sizing!’ She told us that she believes sizes can have negative connotations for women, especially phrases like ‘large’ and ‘extra-large’

For this reason, her loungewear comes in four sizes; Hepburn, Bardot, Monroe and Taylor, mirroring the incredibly glamorous movie-stars of decades gone by. ‘So instead of being a certain size, you might by Marilyn Monroe, one of the most iconic, beautiful women that ever lived!’

‘I want women to look good and feel fabulous. It doesn’t matter what they feel fabulous in, as long as they feel good about themselves!’

And we couldn’t agree with that sentiment of empowering women anymore! We wish Florentyna all the best of luck with her business, and be sure to keep an eye on our blog and our Facebook and Twitter where we will let you know how Florentyna got on in the ‘Pop Up Start Up’ competition!

If you would like to find out more about Florentyna’s business, you can do so by using the contact details below.
Instagram: @Florentyna.Design
Crowd Funding

And if you’ve been inspired by Florentyna’s story and would like to find out how we can support you in starting your own business, then get in touch with us! You can email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hot-Desking, Office Space and Unmissable Discounts - a Look at What's in Store for 54 St James Street in 2017

It’s been a great year here at 54 St James Street, but we already have some exciting announcements to keep you in the loop of for what’s coming up in 2017.

In January, we will be launching our new Hot-Desking services due to popular demand. If you’re not familiar with hot-desking, it is a flexible and cost-effective service which allows workers to hire a desk-space and worktop computer for a period of time. It’s a no-ties opportunity to pay for only the time you need, whether that’s hours, days or weeks.

Hot Desking Facilities
This can be particularly useful if you are self-employed or travelling for business and crave the office environment but lack the need for a more permanent space. Additionally, you will be based in the light, modern and welcoming environment of 54 St James Street with an onsite café and Wi-Fi. More details will be released in the New Year, so keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook for updates.

54 St James Street
As well as this, we are delighted to announce that THREE rooms have become available including 2 x 2 person office and 1 x 5/6 person office. 54 St James Street was developed as part of the 'WICED' project to create a Women's International Centre for Economic Development. Our building is a flagship facility for female enterprise and home to many women-led businesses, for this reason we are looking for female-led businesses to fill the available office space.

The first is 12.5 square meters and the second 13.3 square meters - both of the rooms are designed to fit up to two people. The third available room is 25.3 square meters and can fit between five & six people. All rooms come fully unfurnished and look out in the direction of Jamaica Street. Offices do not become available very often in 54 St James Street, so please do not hesitate if you are considering taking up the space!

The Roddick Suite
And finally, along with our on-site café Siren, we’re ensuring that your January doesn’t feel all doom and gloom post-Christmas. You can save 20% on room hire & catering when you make a room booking for January 2017, 03/01/2017 - 31/01/2017 (excluding weekends and evenings). The bookings can be made throughout December 2016 and January 2017 – so book fast to avoid disappointment!

From everyone at 54, we would like to wish all of our tenants, neighbours and friends a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

If you would like more information about hot-desking, business incubation or our January offer, please contact our team on 0151 706 8100 or

Thursday, December 15, 2016

It’s Raining Cats (But Not Dogs) For Mersey Cat Nanny Alicia Williams!

Well we would never have guessed that within the space of a few months we would publish interview with not only a luxury doggy day care centre, but also a cat nanny! Meet Alicia Williams, the Birkenhead based Mersey Cat Nanny!

Alicia offers a friendly and professional cat sitting service on the Wirral (But she will also catsit in Liverpool city centre on request too) She told us; ‘I have over 6 years’ experience and have 3 cats myself and to be honest I am cat crazy!’ Alicia is the woman to ring if you need help looking after your furry friends whilst you are away from home. ‘I will feed your cats, change their litter trays, play with them, groom them, let them out if you require and anything else!’ As well as this Alicia also provides home security, opening and closing curtains, and switching lights on and off to give the illusion that the owners are at home. As well as this Alicia will also take out bins, collect mail and water plants. 

Alicia and her cat Pumba
It’s been 6 months since Alicia launched Mersey Cat Nanny and prior to this she was working in childcare as a preschool teacher; ‘I went from kids to cats, so quite a change! I’d been wanting to start this business for quite a few years but I had been living in Ireland and as my husband’s job there wasn’t permanent it wasn’t the right time to start a new business’

When Alicia moved to Birkenhead she thought it was the perfect time to start Mersey Cat Nanny! ‘I went into Birkenhead Library and found a poster from The Women’s Organisation offering business start-up support so got in touch. I was set up with Claire Pedersen and that’s how it started.’ 

Alicia began working with Claire on her business plan and market research and took part in our training courses, learning about tax and national insurance and bookkeeping. It was when Alicia undertook her market research that she found out there was a real need for the service that she wanted to provide and this spurred her on and made her decision to start the business final. ‘It’s been fantastic working with Claire, she’s really helped me to understand the business side of things and it’s great to have this extra support that I can access.’ 

Honey, a customers of Alicia's!
Alicia is an individual who really relishes being self-employed and it suits her lifestyle perfectly. And she says herself, that as a woman who is incredibly passionate about cats 'This is my dream job!'

'I also like being by own boss. Even though I can’t call in sick because I have customers relying on me, it’s nice to know that I’m my own boss and I don’t have to answer to anybody.’

Another great part of Alicia’s business is the flexibility that it offers for both herself and her customers; ‘There are so many different options available in my business. I can do overnight stays, visit once a day or twice a day. Whatever the customer wants! It’s been proven that pets in general do much better staying at home rather than in kennels or catteries and I am really passionate about that.’ 

Although Alicia acknowledges what some might see as a downside to her business, she rarely sees her human customers and more face to face time is spent with the cats! ‘Some people might see it as a lonely business, but I’m quite happy with it like this. I’m not a hugely sociable person and have a few close friends whom I see. For me if I can be my own boss and make my own hours, it outweighs things like that.’ 

Twiglet the cat. Another customer!
So far Mersey Cat Nanny is going from strength to strength and Alicia is pleased and proud with what she has achieved over the past 6 months. She already has some fantastic testimonials. One customer Beth said; ‘I am so happy with Alicia! She has been cat sitting a couple of times a week whilst I’m at work. I love the daily updates and pictures that she sends me to reassure me that they are being well cared for. I feel happy and content that my 3 cats are being loved and well treated’

If you would like to find out more about Alicia’s services as the Mersey Cat Nanny you can do so by using the contact details below!

And if you’ve been inspired by Alicia’s story and would like our help and support starting your own business, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Mobile Number: 07576 057555
Email Address: