Thursday, December 13, 2012

Women in Liverpool Can 'Drop-in' for Business Advice in Jan

Are you a woman in Liverpool who is thinking of kick starting 2013 by setting up a new business?

No matter how big or small your self-employed venture is The Women's Organisation can offer FREE support to new businesses including:

* Access to grants

* Help putting together a business plan

* Free business advice and guidance

* Free training to help you understand tax, book keeping, promoting your business and building confidence for your venture

If you would like to find out more we would invite you to come and meet a member of our team at our various FREE 'Meet an Adviser' drop in events being held across the region this month. So far we have confirmed the following dates and venues:

City Centre – LEAF on Bold Street – (10am – 12.30pm) Wednesday 9th January

Liverpool - Childwall Library – (12pm – 3pm) Monday 14th January

Liverpool - Norris Green Library – (10am – 12pm) Wednesday 16th January

Liverpool – Pistachio Lark Lane– (10am – 12.00pm) Tuesday 16th January

Liverpool - Tesco Cafe Park Road (1pm – 3pm) Monday 21st January

Liverpool - Tesco Cafe Mather Avenue (1pm - 3pm) Tuesday 22 January

Liverpool - Tesco Cafe Old Swan (9:30 - 12pm) Tuesday 22nd January

If you can't make any of these events but would like to find out more, please call our team on 0151 706 8111 or drop an email to To keep in touch with our news and events please 'like' us on facebook and 'follow' us on Twitter as @TheWomensOrg. Or if you are a Liverpool Mutual Homes resident please speak to your local housing office about how to link with The Women's Organisation and what services you can access.

International Visitors for Co-Op Project Inspired by Mersey Visit

Visitors from Slovenia and Italy have been putting Merseyside in the spotlight for an EU policy report on best practice. The visit organised by The Women's Organisation and their UK partners was the first Transnational Forum for Co-op project, looking at how public, private and third sector organisations can work together to support the social economy.

While in Merseyside the delegates gathered at 54 St Jame Street, home of The Women's Organisation, to discuss findings on the project to date and share best practice learning. The group were also invited to visit the First Ark Group to learn from its pioneering work creating vibrant, sustainable communities.

During their visit they saw how First Ark is leading the way in the UK for bringing together private companies, the public sector and social enterprise to provide quality homes and services.

Conclusions and best practice from the visit will be presented to the EU in a report that will be used in policy making.

The visit was organised by Liverpool Vision, Downtown Liverpool in Business and The Women’s Organisation, to demonstrate best practice and explore issues around how the public, private and the third sectors can work together to increase competitiveness and drive success.

Tony Cahill, First Ark’s Executive Director of Commercial Services, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the delegates and show them what we have achieved.

“First Ark has a strong track record of collaborative working between sectors to bring about successful projects and initiatives that benefit the community. Working together we can achieve more.”

“Success for us is achieving our social aims of giving back to the communities we work in. We wanted to show how social and commercial business aims can go hand in hand.”

The Group showcased how through public, private and social partnerships it has provided jobs and training, helped lower energy bills for its residents and supported charities.

The visitors toured First Ark’s Prescot headquarters and housing developments that have helped revive areas of the borough including Blakeacre in Halewood and Tiverton Close in Huyton, both examples of successful projects involving private developers and public funding.

Helen Millne, Chief of Operations and Finance at The Women’s Organisation, said: “The delegation had a very successful visit with First Ark and we hope that the links made will become rewarding relationships in the future.

“Staff shared their expertise and knowledge in different areas which met the specific interests of the visitors, and I know they took away many inspirational ideas to report back to their organisations at home.”

First Ark attracted health care social enterprise CASA Knowsley to set up in the borough – creating 33 jobs, a service to 131 clients and 1,222 hours of support each week.

They brought together private sector sponsors and supporters to help fund a volunteering trip to the Ukraine for 33 staff members to renovate an orphanage and have helped to set up a foodbank charity in the area providing emergency food parcels to low income families.

To help reduce fuel bills First Ark teamed up with E.on, Billscutter and Money Angels in its Save Energy Save Money scheme – providing 1,500 home energy audits.

New Year, New Business?

Liverpool based enterprise support agency The Women's Organisation are inviting women to consider their career options ahead of 2013.

Are you considering a new start? Have an idea of something you could do on a self-employed basis? FREE support is on offer to women across the Mersey region to help them set up a business, regardless of current employment status.

The support available from The Women's Organisation includes:

Business Advice
One to one appointments available at various venues across Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool and Wirral to meet with a qualified business adviser who can support you to:
• Understand your business needs and agree a plan of action

• Provide accurate, relevant and up to date information

• Produce a comprehensive business plan that you really understand

• Identify available business grants and loans and help you to apply for them.

Training to help you to develop your business idea including:

Planning for Success - Open to women with a clear business idea this 2 day course covers all the basics of business planning, helping you to gain the skills to successfully build a business plan and cashflow forecast and to plan your marketing strategy.

Book Keeping Made Easy - This lively and interactive half-day session will enhances your book keeping skills. Through simple techniques you will learn how to manage their business finances.

Understanding Tax & National Insurance - Informative ½ day session with HMRC on Tax and National Insurance contributions for self-employment

Promoting Your Business Online – This informative ½ day course provides a great overview of different marketing techniques that can be used to promote your business online. Looking at different social media tools and time saving techniques, this course will help you to market your business in a cost effective and time efficient way.

Grant of £200
Apply for The Women’s Organisation’s £200 Grant along with other sources of finance available in your local area with support from our team. Full eligibility criteria available upon request.

And for women who aren't quite ready to pursue their business idea, but want some support to consider their options:

Become a More Confident You
This interactive Personal Development course is focused on building confidence and self-esteem and creating a more positive outlook for you to make a positive plan for your future. By the end of this course, you will have identified what qualities and capabilities you have and be more confident in deciding where your future lies.

To take advantage of any of this FREE support call 0151 706 8111 or email We can also be found on Twitter as @TheWomensOrg, ‘liked’ on facebook at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Louise Harris @FirstArk Named ‘Game Changer’

The Women's Organisation were delighted to learn that First Ark’s Louise Harris this week received a ‘Game Changer’ award by Business in the Community (BITC).

The Game Changers is a one-off award given out by BITC to recognise individuals who have made a demonstrable contribution to integrating responsible business policy and practice within their organisation.

Each ‘Game Changer’ is an inspirational individual like Louise, who is working to advance the responsible business movement. Louise has been recognised as someone who has helped to shift corporate responsibility from niche to mainstream and has played a significant part in advancing the movement.

Louise, who is Director of Social Responsibility has been fundamental in developing First Ark’s strategic approach to responsive business as well as shaping the delivery of the Advantage scheme which invests in projects for communities; creating jobs, training and volunteer opportunities, supporting new business and social enterprise. Louise and her team are currently working in partnerhsip with The Women's Organisation to support women in Knowsley who are considering self-employment.

Louise was seen as a ‘Game Changer’ because of how enthusiastic she is about service excellence and delivering real value to local people.

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: “We are delighted to be able to recognise some of the brightest stars in corporate responsibility through our Game Changers award. As a campaigning membership organisation we are dependent on individuals from business to help us drive the agenda. Without the energy and passion of Game Changers like Louise I doubt very much if the UK responsible business movement would be quite so mature. They truly deserve this recognition which I hope will act as an inspiration to others.”

CEO of The Women's Organisation Maggie O'Carroll who is also Chair of VIVARK was delighted to learn of the award and on behalf of all at The WO wishes Louise "Many Congratulations".

For a full list of BITC’s Game Changers go to

Victoria is Pleased with the Impact! of Going Self-Employed

Although no one in her family had walked the path of self-employment before, something inside Liverpool resident Victoria Symes told her this was an adventure she needed to try.

She said “I wanted to set up my own business as I am passionate about making a difference to society and felt I had a lot to offer. I also wanted the freedom to develop my own projects, so once the idea was there I knew I had to take it forward.”

Before establishing Impact! Fundraising Victoria worked in the fundraising and development teams of a number of organisations including the University of Liverpool, the British Film Institute and the Science Museum, London. She had always been an active volunteer in the charity sector including being a committee member for the Liverpool City Rotary Club, and when her previous work came to an end it was the perfect time for her to pull together all of her experience to launch her new venture.

Victoria heard that local women’s enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation could offer support to women in Liverpool who were looking to set up a business, and decided to approach the organisation for some support.

“Initially I found the idea of setting up my own business really daunting” said Victoria. “I was lucky in that a lead for my first work came in through recommendations, but my next step was to develop a business plan and marketing strategy to help me establish my business. Although I am used to advising organisations on making the most of what they have I struggled to find the confidence to promote myself and really didn't know where to start! I think a lot of women struggle with this. The Women's Organisation were amazing - everything from developing a personal business plan to social media tips to encouragement, it was all a huge help.”

Victoria has now launched her business Impact! Fundraising which provides fundraising consultancy to charities, Higher Education and the arts sector. She can also help organisations develop strategic plans and put together funding bids to maximise their income from philanthropy, charitable trusts, companies and public sector funders. For start-up companies Impact! Fundraising offer help securing funding from the public and charitable sector.

Speaking of her progress so far Victoria said “I've been overwhelmed with the response so far and receive regular enquiries from new potential clients which has been really exciting. I don't want to take this for granted though so I'm continuing to work hard at developing the business. I love the independence of working for myself, the chance to create something successful and of course the opportunity to work with so many inspiring clients.”

If you are interested in finding out how Impact! Fundraising can support you then contact Victoria on or visit You can also link up with Victoria on Twitter by following @victoria_impact.

“If one of my friends came to me now and said they were thinking of going self-employed, I would advise them to be confident in what they know and are passionate about, and to draw on the experiences of the people they know and organisations like The Women's Organisation for everything else!” said Victoria.

If you are a woman with a business idea why not take her advice and contact The Women’s Organisation for support on 0151 706 8111 or

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Christmas Jumper Day' at 54 St James Street

54 St James Street tenants Constructing Equality have decided to take part in this year’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ for the charity Save the Children on Friday 14th December.

Christmas Jumper Day raises money to support Save the Children’s work with the world’s poorest children. From school books and classrooms, to mosquito nets and life-saving vaccines, our festive fundraising will help the children who need it most.

Constructing Equality would love to get 54 St James Street businesess, surrounding baltic triangle neighbours and friends of The Women's Organisation involved. Sooooooo…….

We’re inviting all of you to wear a Christmas jumper for the day and donate a suggested £1 minimum to help support Save the Children’s life-saving work.

‘But I haven’t got a Christmas Jumper’ we can hear you saying….. Below are some suggestions…

*Rescue Gran’s homemade knitwear from style exile

*Decorate a plain jumper with Christmas decorations, lights, pictures etc

*Buy that festive sweater you’ve always wanted – sweater style knows no limits!

Constructing Equality will also be holding a coffee morning in D&N cafe at 54 St James Street between 10 – 12pm. D & N have kindly agreed to make Christmas gingerbread men and women for people to decorate with icing for a small charge that will go straight to charity. There will also be other various Christmas related cakes and drinks with all profits going to Save the Children.

On the day, we will also be picking a winner for the following jumper categories where each winner will receive a small prize:

*Best Christmas Jumper

*Best Home-made Christmas Jumper

*The ‘so bad it’s good’ jumper award,/br>

If anyone has anything they can donate for these prizes please do let Kyle from Constructing Equality know. Additionally, if anyone has any ideas or something they wish to contribute to the day to make it as successful as possible please do not hesitate to contact Kyle on

Find out more about Christmas Jumper Day here.