Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Beginnings for Stockport Bookkeeper

IN the past few months the life of Athena Hall really has changed dramatically – not only has she made the move from Salisbury to Stockport but she has also started working again after a 19 year break.

“I really am starting a new life here in Stockport” said Athena “a new town and a new business all in the space of a couple of months, but I am really excited about the challenges that lay ahead.”

50-year-old Athena opened up her business Athena Hall Bookkeeping just weeks ago and is working tirelessly to publicise and promote her business through networking and marketing.

She said: “Although it’s in the very early stages, I am really enjoying working for myself,” said Athena, “After all these years of being out of employment, I just wouldn’t have felt right going for interviews and being out there trying to get a new job, so this really did seem like the best option.”

Athena, who previously worked for Lloyds TSB, gave up her job when became a mum and since then took the decision to stay at home and bring up her daughter.

“I’m so glad that I took the decision to be a stay–at-home-mum, because I feel I have given my daughter the best start in life,” continued Athena, “but now that she has grown up it felt like the right time to return to work.”

As well as working in the banking industry Athena, who has qualified with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, previously kept her former husband’s books and has substantial experience in this area of work

“Not being from this area and having not thought about self employment before, I didn’t know where to start” added Athena, “so I went on the net and googled business support and that’s when I found out about Train 2000. Since then I haven’t looked back.”

Athena came along to women’s enterprise agency Train 2000 where she received help and advice under the ISUS (Intensive Start-Up Support) funded programme.

She said: “Train 2000 was a great source of advice and support and my adviser was extremely helpful.”

Athena is looking to develop her client base in the Stockport area and further a-field. For information about her bookkeeping services she can be contacted on 07545 071 163.

Train 2000 Goes Global To Exhibit At EXPO

LEADING women’s enterprise and employment organisation Train 2000 is to showcase its work in China later this year when it exhibits at the Shanghai Expo – the only social enterprise in the UK to take part in the event.

Merseyside-based Train 2000 has been personally invited to the world-renowned event by Zhang Lili – chairperson of the Shanghai Women’s Federation.

A delegation from Train 2000 will link with their counterparts in China to champion women’s enterprise and jointly call for greater support for women to set up and grow their own businesses across the globe.

Liverpool is the only UK city to exhibit at the Shanghai Expo which is expected to attract some 70 million visitors from 140 countries worldwide. The city is taking part in a bid to showcase the cultural and economic vibrancy of the Liverpool’s city region.

When it exhibits at the Expo in October, Train 2000 will also seize the opportunity to showcase WICED - The Women's International Centre for Economic Development - opening in Liverpool in December 2010, a ground-breaking initiative and the first of its kind in the world.

Maggie O’Carroll, Executive Director of Train 2000, who will take part in the delegation, said: “We are delighted to be attending the Shangahi Expo and feel honoured to be personally invited by the Shanghai Women’s Federation.
“As a leading social enterprise, we are very much looking forward to expanding our work from the UK and Europe to the Far East.
“We are particularly looking forward to linking with the Shanghai Women’s Federation, whose mission it is to protect women’s rights and interests and promote women’s development in China.
“Our message will be that it is crucial that societies globally harness women’s enterprise and encourage and support women to start up and grow their own businesses. The benefits to this are numerous including greater financial independence for women and a reduction in family poverty.”
Mike Taylor, Deputy CEO of Liverpool Vision, said: “Train 2000 showcasing its work at the World Expo is yet another example of how Liverpool businesses and organisations are taking full advantage of the city’s presence in Shanghai.

“Our twinning relationship with Shanghai is founded on social inclusion and sustainable economic growth and the work of Train 2000 in promoting and supporting women’s enterprise internationally represents a very real and vital contribution to this shared goal.”

Women who run their own business in Merseyside now have an opportunity to join the delegation to gain access to some of the biggest markets in the world, for a subsidised price of £1500. For more information, contact Train 2000 on the contact information below.

Train 2000, the Centre for Women’s Enterprise and Employment, is an award-winning social enterprise, which has been operating on Merseyside and in Manchester since 1996.

To find out more about the help and support available for women from Train 2000 call 0151 236 6601 or email Alternatively visit the web site at

Summer Play Scheme At The Kuumba Imani Centre

IF you're looking for a fun and affordable play scheme for your little ones this summer then why not try Liverpool's Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre.The Centre, which is based on Princes Street in the L8 area of the city, will be running a play scheme from 21 July through to 27 August 2010, from 8:30am until 6:00pm daily.

The play scheme is OFSTED registered and has been recognised for its inclusive and diverse play.

During the day a wide vareity of fun activities for the children will take place.

Rates for the scheme, which is run by NVQ qualified staff, are £16.00 for a full day and £9.00 for half a day (four hour session).

For further information and an application form please call 0151 709 8162 or email

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WICED Takes Shape - Week 12 Of The New Centre

WORK is well underway at the brand new Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) as builders progress into week 12 of the multi-million pound venture.

With the structure now firmly in place and flooring to the first and second floors complete, the building really is taking shape.”

Martin Walsh, Site Manager for construction company Kier North West, said; “Obviously there is still a massive amount of work to be done, but we are pleased with the progress we have made so far."

Kath Newbould, Kier’s Project Design Manager added “There is a lot of work going on at the moment and now that flooring has gone down and staircases are in place, it really starts to make a difference to the feel of the building and you can really get a sense of what the Centre will look like on completion.”

On site earlier this week construction workers were hard at it working on the structure of the centre as well as digging out trenches for the main incoming services such as water and electricity.

Maggie O’Carroll, Chief Executive Officer for WICED, said: “In the short space of 12 weeks it is amazing to see just how far the building has come on. This is an extremely exciting project and we are looking forward to delivering our services to women from the new centre, which is the first of its kind in the country.”

The £5.3 million new build, which is based in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool, is expected to be complete by December 2010.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Knowsley Businesswoman Gets A Taste For Success

WHEN mum-of-two Joanne Perry went on maternity leave last year it provided her with the perfect opportunity to start something new – and that’s when she set her sights on opening up her own business.

“In the past I have worked in a number of jobs including anything from fashion to beauty therapy” says Joanne, “but when I left work to have my second baby I decided it was time to try something different. So, I enrolled on a cake making course and it all started from there.”

After a lot of hard work and preparation 36-year-old Joanne, who is from Knowsley, launched her business L&H Cakes in April this year and works in part-time employment also, whilst she establishes the business.

She said: “Since setting up L&H Cakes, I have been in-undated with orders. It started off with just family and friends but now I am picking up new customers all the time through word of mouth.

“At the moment, I am still working part-time, but I absolutely love running my own business and as it builds up further I am looking to finish my part-time employment and concentrate solely on my cake making.”

She added: “The work I do is very involved and I don’t think people realise what goes into cake making, each one takes me approximately four hours to complete – but what I love most about my work is the fact that it is allowing me to be really creative.”

Prior to setting up L&H Cakes Joanne came along to women’s enterprise agency Train 2000 where she received free help and advice under the business start-up programme. She worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser who helped to put together her business plan and apply for funding to help towards start-up costs.

“I had never heard of Train 2000 before” said Joanne, “but I had gone along to my local children’s centre in Knowsley with my daughter, who is now one, and whilst I was there I received some information about the organisation. I was already thinking about setting up my own business and I knew I didn’t want to go back to work fulltime, so finding out I could get free help and advice really gave me the extra push I needed.

“Train 2000 was fantastic. My adviser Amanda was so helpful and patient and I don’t think I could have put together a business plan without her. Having Train 2000 to support me, really gave me the confidence I needed to do this and I am so glad I did.”

Through her business Joanne makes wedding cakes, cup cakes and a variety of cakes for all occasions and she is able to base her business at home.

“My cakes are really something special” said Joanne, “I put a lot of work into them, to make them look very individual and enjoy the creativity it brings out in me.”

If you are interested in finding out more about L&H Cakes or if you would like to place an order please contact Joanne on 07784 996 473.

And, if you are a woman living in knowsley and would like to start up your own business, please contact Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit to find out about our range of free services.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Merseyside Woman Of The Year Awards - Winners Announced Next Month

WITH just weeks to go until this years Merseyside Woman of the Year is announced Train 2000 is eagerly waiting to discover whether any of the organisation’s former clients will gain success at this years Daily Post led awards.

Following nomination submissions across a number of the awards categories – and some clients up for the most prestigious award of all The Merseyside Woman of the Year Award it is hoped that that Train 2000 clients will enjoy success.

Among those shortlisted for the awards are clients Jaci Quennell and Elaine Allision who set up an organisation to provide counselling, training, mentoring and research for children and young people who have been abused.

Lucy Byrne, who started up her own business Dot-art, is also in the line up – in recognition of the fact that she now supports more than 100 artists throughout the area helping to promote and sell their work.

And Ceri Hand, who opened a commercial contemporary art gallery in Liverpool just two years ago, is also amongst those shortlisted.

Flo Clucas, the first president of WICED is also within chance of winning the award; following 24 years as an active member of Liverpool City Council and throughout her career she has been a driving force to change the economic position of women.

Award winners will be announced at a special ceremony on July 2 at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool One. Proceeds from the event will be shared between the Wirral Autistic Society and the Merseyside Police and High Sheriff’s Charitable Fund.

This year Train 2000 is one of the award sponsors.

Business Success For Stockport Mums

FOR friends Christine Bradshaw and Lynda Roberts opening up their own business is about much more than going to work – because the two mums have a real passion for what they do.

“It’s a pleasure coming into work, we love what we do and it’s fantastic being our own bosses,” said Christine who along with business partner Lynda opened up Sophie Rose Interiors in their hometown of Reddish, Stockport, earlier this year.

“We have both got children and have been friends for years. I was looking to do something new and Lynda had previously run her own business, so we decided to join forces and give it a go” added Christine.

Sophie Rose Interiors, which is based in the heart of reddish sells vintage products, as well as a range of made to measure curtains – and the business partners buy and restore old furniture which they then sell on.

Prior to starting up the business Christine, aged 46, was unemployed after leaving her job as a teaching assistant, whilst 49-year-old Lynda had ran her own business before. Now the partners have combined their skills and experiences for their new venture, with Lynda undertaking a lot of the work in the shop whilst Christine is responsible for all other aspects of the business including administration, marketing, finance and much m ore.

After deciding they wanted to become their own bosses Christine and Lynda came along to women’s enterprise agency Train 2000 where they received free help and support under the ISUS (Intensive Start-up Support) funded programme.

As well as attending a business planning course Christine and Lynda worked on a one-to-one basis with their adviser Mike. “The support we received from Train 2000 was excellent” said Christine, “It was very useful to have some one who could help us along the way, in putting our business plan together. It was nice to have somewhere to turn for any questions or queries we had and we would definitely recommend other women to access the services offered through Train 2000.”

They first heard about the organisation when Christine searched on the internet for somewhere in the area they could turn to for the business advice they were looking for.

“We have both lived in Reddish all our lives” said Christine, “and we are delighted that we have been able to open up a shop here, as we are very optimistic that it will make a difference to the area. We are both very passionate about the town and are keen to make a positive contribution to it.”

To find out more about Sophie Rose Interiors call into the shop on Gorton Road in Reddish or if you want to speak to Christine or Lynda about their range of products and service give them a call on 0161 222 1017.

UN Official Praises China's Achievements In Promoting Gender Equality


The chief of the United Nations (UN) Theme Group on Gender Abhimanyu Singh here on Tuesday praised China’s efforts and achievements in promoting gender equality.

Addressed a media conference for a UN regional human development report, Singh said China is on track to achieve the specific millennium development goals (MDGs) on gender equality.

The report, titled Power, Voice and Rights–a Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific, identified three key areas where policy interventions produce results for gender equality–building economic power, promoting political voice and advancing legal rights. It was released for the first time in New Delhi, India on Monday.

China is ahead of most developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region in most indicators regarding gender equality, the official said.

The eight MDGs, set by world leaders at a UN summit meeting in 2000, also include relieving poverty, popularizing primary education, reducing child mortality and ensuring environmental sustainability, among others.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stockport Mum Sets The Trend With New Business

FOR mum-of-two Liz Haydn going shopping is no longer just a hobby in fact it is now her livelihood after she started up her own business providing personal styling and shopping services to people of the North West.

And, not only does 32-year-old Liz go out shopping for her customers – she also provides them with a lesson on what clothes they should wear and will help to sort their wardrobes out!

“I really enjoy going into peoples’ houses and helping them to dress according to their shape” explained Liz, “so many people have a wardrobe full of clothes, but in reality have nothing to wear. I help them to get the most out of their clothes and show them what to wear to flatter their figure.”

Liz, who is mum to her 10-year-old daughter and three year old son, came up with the idea to start up the business following repeated requests from friends and family for help with clothes shopping and deciding what to wear.

“It helps having a creative eye and being able to help people in a constructive way” added Liz, “I understand how your body can change when y9ou get older or have a baby, I have faced these challenges myself, but I know how to disguise the bits I’m not keen on and I want to help my customers in the same way.”

Liz worked previously as a senior marketing executive but now says she would never go back. “I really enjoy being my own boss, I love my work and it fits round my family” she said.

Liz, who is from the Stockport area, came along to Train 2000 for help and advice in starting up her business. She received free support under the ISUS (Intensive Start-Up Support) programme.

“Train 2000 was fantastic” said Liz, “I worked on a one-to-one basis with an adviser and received a lot of help. My advisor gave me so many ideas that I wouldn’t even have thought of.”

Liz also attended Train 2000’s business planning course, which she says was extremely useful to her. She added: “It was so nice to attend a course with other like-minded women, who were all in the same boat and were happy to share their ideas.”

Despite only setting up the business quite recently Liz has already got her first few clients. She said: “I am really pleased with how everything is going so far and the fact that I have already got clients gives me real confidence.

“As well as gaining clients through word of mouth I have started to do a lot of networking and I hope to build up my customer base that way.”

To find out more about the services offered by Liz read her blog at or email

And, if you’re interested in finding out more about the FREE services offered by womens enterprise agency Train 2000 please visit or call 0151 236 6601.

Women 'Still' Earn Less - 40 Years On


IT might well be 40 years since the Equal Pay Act was put in place but recent research shows that women are still paid a massive 17 per cent less than men.

The Fawcett Society, together with Unison, the TUC and the Equality & Human Right Commission hosted a conference to commemorate the anniversary of this groundbreaking legislation - but Rowena Lewis of the Fawcett Society described it as “disturbing that 40 years on from an act designed to outlaw pay discrimination, we still have not made progress to begin to close the pay gap.”

According to research by the Fawcett Society the gender pay gap means that on average women working full time earn 17 per cent less than men and women working part-time lose out on a massive 37 per cent to their male counterparts.

Speaking about the gender pay gap, Maggie O’Carroll, Train 2000’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “It is astonishing that 40 years on from this piece of legislation women are still earning much less than men.

“At Train 2000 we work tirelessly to ensure that women have the same opportunities as men and empower women so that they have economic independence. We strongly support any moves to tackle to gender pay gap.”

In recent times there has been a surge of employment tribunals as women defend their right for equal pay to men. Only last months, at an employment tribunal in Birmingham, Newcastle-based lawyer Stefan Cross secured a victory for thousands of female council workers, who claimed being denied up to 160 per cent of bonuses of their basic pay. It was revealed that 40 years after Equal Pay Act some men had been earning more than £50,000 a year compared with women on the same grade on only £12,000 a year.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Business For Knowsley Grandmother

WHEN Pat Thornely retired from work there was no way she was going to put her feet up – instead the 68-year-old Grandmother took this opportunity to start up her own business.

“I didn’t want to retire but I had no choice” said Pat, “I felt that I still had a lot more to give, so I did something that I had been thinking about for years, and started up my own training consultancy business.”

Pat, who is from the Knowsley area, had worked as a nurse and a midwife during her early career before taking up employment with the Liverpool PCT delivering training courses – and it was her previously gained skills and experienced gained in training that led her to the decision to set up Pat Thornley Training Consultancy.

Through her business Pat provides training around training and long term health conditions which she delivers to carers in the Knowsley and surrounding areas.

After deciding to start up her business Pat came along to Train 2000 where she received free advice and support funded through the Intensive Start-Up Support (ISUS) programme and Knowsley Council.

Pat said: “I knew that Train 2000 had an excellent reputation so I went along to see what help they could give. I worked on a one-to-one basis with my adviser Amanda, who was brilliant. She was extremely supportive and helped me to put together my business plan.”

Since starting up the business Pat has already been contracted to do a number of training courses and says that she is as busy now as when she was working.

“I have always toyed with idea of becoming self-employed” continued Pat, “there was a huge fear factor and I was used to having a steady income, so it made it very difficult for me to make that jump.

“But, now that I am retired I’ve got nothing to lose and being my own boss is working extremely well.”

She added: “Because of my age I had to retire, but there was no way I was ready to put my feet up and just because you’re older it certainly doesn’t mean that your skills and experience are any less valid, so I just went for it and I honestly feel as though setting up my own business has done a great deal for my confidence.”

Pat, who was widowed at age 51 has grown up children and two young grandchildren, says she is getting the most out of retirement and is very much looking forward to developing her business further and gaining new contracts.

Anyone who would like to find out more about Pat Thornley Training Consultancy should contact her on 0151 292 4305.

For further information about the FREE services delivered by Train 2000 to women in the Merseyside area visit or call 0151 236 6601.

Friday, June 4, 2010

ERDF Announce their support for New Women's Business Centre

The Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED) is being developed by Train 2000, following a £2.4 million investment from the Northwest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme – part of a £5.2 million finance package.

Dedicated to women’s enterprise, the state of the art centre is being built in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

For full details from the ERDF news page click here.

The site is now really taking shape. If you can't go and visit in person then why not keep up to date with the development via our flickr album.

New research shows a lack of trust in businesses without a web presence

A poll by web hosting firm 1&1 Internet reveals nearly 50% of consumers have 'concerns' if a firm has no website.

The survey showed how half of consumers now regularly buy from online-only businesses.

According to the poll:

41% of retailers believe the internet has led to an improvement in work/life balance.
54% said they had made adjustments to their business plan as a result.
83% of those polled said the internet had made it easier for people to succeed in business while a third believe it has been a significant motivator for people from less privileged backgrounds to start up a venture.

If you are thinking about using a website for your business, but could use some training on how to make best use of a website and how to choose what tools to add on then Train 2000 offer a FREE 'Website Awarenss' Course. Open to women setting up business in Merseyside or Stockport. Call our team on 0151 236 6601 or 0161 833 8800 for available dates and bookings.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Greer is WICED Advocate

Writer and cultural commentator, Bonnie Greer arrives onstage bright-eyed, petite and perky. Heavy applause drowns her aural entourage: a nifty throwdown of jazz and soul licks – an integral subject of her latest “little book” about Barack Obama, which she is here to discuss.

In fact, the Writing on the Wall (WoW) event is a sell-out at the Contemporary Urban Centre tonight, the night after our memorable general election on 15 May.

Maybe it’s because Bonnie Greer is widely known for her novels and plays, for guesting on BBC2’s Newsnight Review or for being appointed to the board of the British Museum by former prime minister, Gordon Brown. Or maybe it’s because we watched her endure "probably the weirdest and most creepy experience of my life”,
(Evening Standard), when she heroically faced-off with BNP’s leader on BBC1’s Question Time last year.

Whatever the case, Bonnie has her fans and she’s well placed to speak to us about the Baltic Triangle at WoW’s ‘Rant’ series, which promotes “provocative, respectful, argumentative” discussion.

It’s no surprise to learn that Greer has “already met the ladies behind the Women’s International Centre for Economic Development (WICED)”, a £5.2m development, opening here in 2011. Greer is a huge advocate.

“We’re still in an age where women’s economic prowess is considered to exist almost always in the home and so we’re losing an enormous amount of brain power – it’s not even so much about gender.

“It’s about the use of the best talents and intellect we can have. But the endgame is the release of human potential. And if women need to have an environment to release their intellectual power then, for the time being, so be it.”

As for the influx of creatives and digital industries to the Triangle, Greer believes “products increasingly based on ideas are a way forward.”

“In a post-industrial nation, a nation needs to find another way of making things and the digital revolution and technology is one such way.”

On Gordon Brown, with whom she is known to have had a good working relationship...
“I think he is a statesman; he’s not a glamour-puss and in this age, sadly, you seem to have to be. But he is what he is, he’s a great intellect and people have paid tribute to his intellect and passion and his determination to make a difference.”

As for the subject of Greer’s talk, ‘Obama Music – Some Notes From A South Sider Abroad’ is an unconventional and engaging history book, especially if you’re a music fan. Greer weaves anecdotes and observations about her own upbringing in Chicago, (“arguably the most segregated city in the U.S.”), as much as Barack Obama who lived there during the 80s and 90s.

Of Obama and her book, Greer says:

“We need to de-exoticise Obama. He’s not an anomaly, he didn’t come out of nowhere – he came out of somewhere, like we all did. He’s not a mythical figure.”

‘Obama Music’ is published by Legend Press.