Thursday, March 27, 2014

Local Business Woman Lucy Antal Scoops An Award For Her Handmade Preserves

Being made redundant after 13 years of working in a Merseyside based Charity, Lucy Antal found it very difficult to find a new job at the age of 45.
Photo: Jessica Lang Photography
With experience in managing a cookery school and office systems for a group of restaurants and bars, this became the recipe for the Liverpool resident to move towards self-employment. ‘People have always told me that I should be making my living through food… It seemed like an opportunity to give it a go. I have nothing to lose!’

Following her redundancy, Lucy attended a ‘Become a More Confident You’ course at The Women’s Organisation. ‘I think it’s fair to say my confidence took a knock following the redundancy after 13 years in my former job.’

A confidence boost is just what she needed to regain her appetite and move forward. This is when she became aware of the free business start-up support The Women’s Organisation also offered.

‘The Women’s Organisation gave me business startup advice and the opportunity to attend a range of relevant courses. They were very supportive generally of what I’m trying to achieve.’ She continued: ‘It’s also been good to meet other women in a similar situation to share advice.’

Photo: William Lyons
‘Grab Your Spoon’ is the name under which food-lover Lucy already tweets and blogs about her passion for food, so it made sense that her business should adopt the same name. Grab Your Spoon produces a range of handmade preserves, jams, chutneys, relishes and marmalades.

‘I have a stall each month at Lark Lane Farmers market and have already got two outlets stocking my preserves – The Liverpool Cheese Shop and HomeBaked Anfield, and I’m currently talking to a third in the City Centre.’

Photo: William Lyons
Lucy and her products have quickly become a big hit, scooping a Gold award in the World’s Original Jam Awards for her Seville Marmalade.

In a recent press release, Awards and Festival organiser Jane Hasell-McCosh commented: ‘Congratulations to Grab Your Spoon on their award. It is one of a growing army of small artisan producers preserving one of our great British traditions.’

The next step for Grab Your Spoon is to launch an online shop and spread her passion for food far and wide. The self-confessed foody also aims to branch out and make additional products, such as handmade fudge and wedding favours. To further compliment her business, she also hopes to develop her writing to provide another income stream into the business.

Photo: Williams Lyons
Lucy was extremely grateful for any assistance she received whilst starting up. Her advice to other budding business women would be to ‘research lots! The information is out there. Accept any free help offered, even if you think you know all there is to know about a particular subject, you always learn something. Be open and kind. Share your knowledge and support other small businesses.’

For Lucy, business is all about the creativity and pleasing customers. ‘I love that the business is mine! No seriously, I love the creativity of cooking and I get great satisfaction from people enjoying my product.’

If you’re ready to ‘Grab Your Spoon’ and taste Lucy’s delicious range of handmade preserves, visit www.grabyourspoon.com or you can reach her at info@grabyourspoon
Twitter - @grabyourspoon and Facebook - facebook/grabyourspoon

And if Lucy's story has made you hungry to take your idea to the next level, contact The Women's Organisation for more information on the free business start-up advice, training and grant package available. 0151 706 8111 / hello@thewo.org.uk www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk

Portrait photo by Jessica Lang Photography







By Beckie Kinsella

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Get Free Support With Building A Social Media Strategy

With all the social media sites out there it can be confusing to know where to start, where to concentrate your time and resources, and how to utilise the tools you have chosen to their fullest.  


The Women's Organisation's 'Building a Social Media Strategy' half day workshop provides a great overview of different marketing techniques that can be used to promote your business online.

This informative session will help you to:

•             Understand how to build a strategic plan for your online marketing
•             Have an overview of what social media tools are available (blogs, facebook, twitter, linkedin etc.)
•             Evaluate which social media tools are most appropriate for your business
•             Pick up time saving tips to maximise productivity


When asked what was most useful about the session, responses included:

‘It was informed, professional and friendly.’

‘Very chatty and explained everything in detail.’

‘How to use Google analytics.’

‘I liked the idea of creating a more readable site to look at current trends in relation to the industry.’
















Looking at different social media tools and time saving techniques, this session will help you to market your business in a cost effective and time efficient way.

Overall feedback from our recent workshops included:

‘Jo was very helpful and gave good examples in regards to my business and how to market the business on social media sites.’

‘As a technophobe, I found the course fantastic! Jo never at any point made me feel silly and I now feel confident to go forwards with Twitter and Facebook. Thank you.’

‘Jo was very helpful and informed us all with regards to social media, very relaxed and professional.’ 

If you would like to book onto the next Building a Social Media Strategy Workshop or like more information, contact 0151 706 8111 / hello@thewo.org.uk or visit http://www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk/events 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Free Business Start-Up Support In Wirral

Have you been considering self-employment? The Women’s Organisation are here to support women in Wirral take their first steps into business.




Whether it is free support with business planning, accessing grants, understanding tax and national insurance when going self-employed or getting to grips with online marketing for a small business, The Women's Organisation can offer advice and guidance.


The free business start-up programme available to women in Wirral includes:
  • Business advice - Appointments available at venues in:
    • Heswall Library
    • Hoylake Library
    • Birkenhead Egerton House
    • New Brighton Community Centre
    • Bromborough Library
    • Wallasey Library
    • Birkenhead Central Library
  • Help to build a business plan
  • Events to build skills and confidence including:
    • Planning for Success - Open to women with a clear business idea this 2 day workshop 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.
    • Understanding Tax & National Insurance - Informative half day session on Tax and National Insurance contributions for self-employment.
    • Basic Book Keeping - This lively and interactive half-day session will enhance your book keeping skills. Through simple techniques you will learn how to manage your business finances.
    • Building a Social Media Strategy – A half day workshop that provides a great overview of different marketing techniques and social media tools that can be used to promote your business online.
    • Selling Online: From Ebay to Etsy – This half day workshop provides an overview of the different online marketplaces available and the pros and cons of using each one.
    • Become a More Confident You - This interactive Personal Development session is focused on building confidence and self-esteem and creating a more positive outlook for you to make a positive plan for your future.
Once you have built your knowledge and are ready to launch your business The Women's Organisation offer a £200 grant package to help you get off and running.  The Women's Organisation business advice team work with local women to ensure they understand all the grant funding or finance options available to them and offer support with the application process. 

To book an appointment to get some advice on starting a business call 0151 706 8111 or email hello@thewo.org.uk 



Monday, March 24, 2014

Specialist #SocialMedia & E-Marketing Training with @TheWomensOrg & @Marketing_Jo


Specialist Social Media
& E-marketing Training

Just £100 including VAT

Optimise your customers' interactive experience, and 
develop a more strategic approach to your digital 
marketing to get the competitive edge. 
Our specialist training includes:
 










Course 1: Getting Started on Facebook for Business
Set up a profile for your business, and 

understand the core functions of your facebook 
business page.

Course 2: Hootsuite and Smart Social Media
Set up a hootsuite account to pre-time social media 

content, and understand key tools available to help 
you build content and link channels together to save 
time.

Course 3: Maximise Linkedin for Business
Ideal for individuals or organisations looking to build 

business to business connections you will build your 
linkedin profile and presence and understand the core 
functions of the site.

Course 4: Twitter for Business
Open to those who are new to Twitter, this hands on 

course offers practical guidance on how to use twitter 
effectively, demystifying the #hashtag and other twitter 
trends.

Course 5: Blogging for Business
Using Blogger discover how Blogging can be used to 

showcase your business expertise and support your 
SEO strategy.

Course 6: Using Mailchimp for Email Marketing
This hands on course shows you how to use Mailchimp 

free email campaigns to build eyecatching e-flyers 
and e-newletters.

Held at The Women's Organisation and run by our 

Digital Marketing Co-ordinator Jo Austin (aka 
@marketing_jothese course are open to any 
women within your organisation who will take 
responsibility for marketing.

These courses can also be brought out to your 

business and run exclusively for your team for a 
minimum of 6 people (regardless of gender). 
For dates and details contact 0151 706 8111 
or hello@thewo.org.uk

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Prescot business wins a shop thanks to One Ark

A new furniture shop will be opening in Prescot Shopping Centre thanks to a local charity’s campaign to support entrepreneurship. Late last year One Ark, part of the First Ark Group, launched a competition to support a local retailer by providing a unit rent-free for a year.

Grace Lea, a furniture upcycling and restoration business, will open its doors on 1st June 2014.  As the brainchild of Knowsley-based owner Cheryl Mullins, Grace Lea will sell a range of high quality restored vintage furniture and bespoke items at affordable prices.  As the furniture will be restored on site, Cheryl will also host workshops from the unit, which will teach others the skills they need to upcycle their own smaller items.

Following a three-stage process, Cheryl beat off competition from 25 other business owners to win the space in the shopping centre.  Her business will now benefit from a 12 month rent-free period, full refurbishment of the premises which will be completed by Vivark, and structured business advice and support from the Merseyside Special Investment Fund, The Women’s Organisation and Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council. Cheryl also wins membership of Knowsley Chamber of Commerce.

During the three-stage process, Cheryl received free business support and training from local women’s enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation. The Knowsley resident worked closely on a one to one basis with a business advisor to create a competition winning business plan.

Laura McCumiskey from One Ark was one of the first to congratulate Cheryl: “When Cheryl met with the panel of judges she blew us away with her enthusiasm and entrepreneurship. 

“We were searching for a unique, independent retailer to add value to our high street, and Cheryl’s business plan was robust and showed talent.  Grace Lea, which will occupy a unit that’s been empty for three years, will be a welcome addition to the shopping centre.”

Owner Cheryl Mullins adds: “This is an amazing opportunity for me to be able to get my business up and running and provide for my family. 

“To be able to operate rent-free for a year will enable me to focus on establishing and growing the business rather than worrying about covering such a large overhead.  I’m looking forward to learning from the self-employment support and developing my business, while at the same time being able to give something back to the community too.” 

One Ark’s ‘Win a Shop’ project supports the regeneration of local high streets through championing new enterprise and supporting the journey into self-employment. The project was initiated by One Ark in partnership with Knowsley Chamber of Commerce, Vivark, CBRE, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, The Women’s Organisation, Prescot Town Team, Poco Coffee and Sergeants Accountants.

One Ark was launched in August 2013 to change the lives of people in Knowsley through generating investment which will be channeled into increasing wealth and creating stronger communities.  To find out more about One Ark, please visit www.one-ark.co.uk





Venture Accelerator Supports Merseyside Businesses to Grow


The Women's Organisation are delighted to be supporting local women led businesses to expand, offering free support via the Venture Accelerator Programme. 

The Venture Accelerator brings together a dynamic partnership of The Women’s Organisation, Downtown in Business, Agent Marketing and High Performance Consultancy to deliver a highly innovative and effective business growth and business incubation Programme, it is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The programme is aimed at enterprises that have the potential to grow by bringing innovative products and processes to market, scaling up, and internationalising, whilst also addressing the key attribute of the knowledge economy which is the virtualisation of labour.

The programme will provide a range of services to businesses including:

•             Support to develop a clear growth strategy for their business aligned to their needs
•             Access to markets – research, business plan/business, pitch preparation
•             Strategic marketing and selling, social media/E-commerce
•             Effective leadership – human resources and talent development
•             Financial Management, raising finance, bid preparation, procurement
•             Talent/People – Networking opportunities locally and globally, referrals to professional partners
•             Developing strategic partnerships
•             Corporate Social Responsibility

The programme is available to SME's across Merseyside and provides funded consultancy to enable businesses to prepare for growth and runs to June 2015. 

Eligibility Criteria (for The Women’s Organisation)

•             Female* led SMEs with that over three years have the potential to increase employment by at least 5 employees or generate additional turnover of £0.5million
•             The business qualifies as an SME under ERDF guidelines

Although The Women’s Organisation will work with women led businesses only, Downtown in Business, Agent Marketing and High Performance Consultancy will work with both male and female led businesses.  Venture Accelerator is part funded by European Regional Development Fund. 

Enquiries for the programme can be made via 0151 706 8111 or hello@thewo.org.uk



Monday, March 17, 2014

And the Winners are... #WIBA14

On Friday 14th March The Women's Organisation joined Downtown Liverpool in Business to celebrate International Women's Day at the second annual Women in Business Awards held at Hilton Liverpool.  

Keynote speaker Nichola McChystal spoke of her journey to business and being taken seriously in the male dominated world of science and technology. Bringing tears to every eye she paid tribute to her mother as her inspiration, having watched her mother turn the business she worked for into a massive success. 




The winners, chosen 50% by public vote and 50% by a panel of representatives from the local business community, were acknowledged by The Women's Organisation CEO Maggie O'Carroll as "pioneers".  Maggie emphasised the importance of recognising women's achievements to inspire the next generation, with hope to accelerate the rate of change in the economy to see women represented equally within business leadership. 

The winners were:

Best New Start Up - Denise Harris and Family Go Live
Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Kelly Marie Stewart of Kelly Marie Boutique
Social Enterprise of the Year - Sefton Park Palm House (Moira & team)
Marketer of the Year - Lisa Pearson of Hampson Hughes Solicitors
Legal Advisor of the Year - Sarah Bell of DLA Piper
Financial Profession - Clare Jackson of Wilson Henry LLP
Female Leader - Helen Broughton of Morecrofts Solicitors
Entrepreneur of the Year - Francesca Kearns of Miss Francesca Couture
A Decade of Excellence in Business - Elaine Clarke of Baa Bar
Business of the Year - Haven Care Ltd
Chief Executives Award - Denis Barrett Baxendale of Everton in the Community 

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. Tweets from the event can be found via the hashtag #WIBA14 

Women Starting up a Business in Knowsley - Get FREE Support

The Women's Organisation are working closely with KHT (Knowsley Housing Trust) to let women in Knowsley know that they can turn their ideas into a business.



Whether it is free support with business planning, accessing grants, understanding tax and national insurance when going self-employed or getting to grips with online marketing for a small business, The Women's Organisation can offer advice and guidance.

The free business start-up programme available to women in Knowsley includes:


  • Business advice - Appointments available at venues in:
    • Prescot
    • Huyton
    • Kirkby
  • Help to build a business plan
  • Events to build skills and confidence including:
    • Become a More Confident You
    • Selling Online - From eBay to Etsy
    • Planning for Success - Introduction to Business Planning
    • Basic Book Keeping
    • Understanding Tax and National Insurance
    • Building a Social Media Strategy
Once you have built your knowledge and are ready to launch your business The Women's Organisation offer a £200 grant package to help you get off and running.  Further grants are available through Knowsley Council, and other providers.  The Women's Organisation business advice team work with local women to ensure they understand all the grant funding or finance options available to them and offer support with the application process. 

To book an appointment to get some advice on starting a business call 0151 706 8111 or email hello@thewo.org.uk 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Join @ThisLadyLoves Conference with @TheWomensOrgLiv


An International Festival of Business Event
Thursday 19th June 9.00am-17.00pm
Anfield Football Club

Join This Lady Loves for the 4th women in business 'Inspire Women Conference' as part of the International Festival of Business in Liverpool this June.  Keynote speakers at the event include: Molly Harvey, Vanessa Vallely, Annette Kingsley, Claire Lara and Sue Doyle.

To find out more about these inspirational speakers and how to book a ticket click here.  

Attend as a guest or hire a trade stand if you want to promote your services to women. 
The Women’s Organisation will be there, and our Digital Marketing Coordinator Jo Austin will be giving a workshop on social media management. We look forward to seeing you at this motivational event. 




Monday, March 10, 2014

Success for @54StJamesStreet Tenant Constructing Equality (@ConstructingEq) as Founder Chrissi McCarthy is Shortlisted for Award

Chrissi McCarthy founded Constructing Equality in 2007. Since then, the business has grown to employ seven full time and four part time members of staff, whilst remaining debt free.   Not surprisingly Chrissi's success has put her in the limelight of the local economy as she has been shortlisted for Downtown Liverpool's Women in Business Awards 2014, sponsored by The Women's Organisation.
The business which is based at 54 St James Street, a new development in the thriving Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool,  takes a different approach to consultancy, creating centralised products with industry partners that are tailored to the needs of the construction sector.  Constructing Equality therefore allow companies to get one on one highly specialised consultancy expertise, at achievable costs.
Constructing Equality’s three main products are the creation and delivery of the CITB Be Fair framework, online equality training and the Community value project. All of these products have struck a chord with the sector and have received immense support. So much so, that major construction clients such as Crossrail and HS2 have independently contacted Constructing Equality after receiving outstanding response to the CITB Be Fair framework and training courses, from major contractors such as: Vinci, BAM, Murphy, ISG, Morgan Sindall and Wates.
Before starting Constructing Equality Ltd. Chrissi spent more than 10 years in the Construction Industry, firstly as a Setting-Out Engineer and then as a Site Manager. A Construction Management Graduate and Member of The Chartered Institute of Building she played an integral role in the delivery of numerous projects, including Peckham Library, Manchester Interchange, a range of BSF Schemes, and a school in Uganda for charity.  Together, these projects helped Chrissi to develop a deep understanding of the day-to-day practical challenges faced by teams on site and at head offices around the country.
Passionate about the social and emotional effects of the Construction Industry, Chrissi went on to complete a PGDip in Equality and Diversity, and is now studying for her PhD, which is sponsored by global construction organisation Vinci, in Mainstreaming Equality in the UK construction industry.  Considered one of the field’s leading exponents, she is part of the Fairness Inclusion and Respect Strategic Group that leads the Construction Industry on Diversity.  She imparts lectures on Equality and Diversity at Universities and Conferences, writes for leading Construction Publications, contributes to Government Papers, influences key Industry Figures, and has even spoken at the House of Lords.

Importantly, while her achievements are diverse, they share a common thread – to improve the reality of working within Construction and its reputation among the public. 
Delighted to be shortlisted for an award Chrissi said: "Thank you to everyone who voted for us and as always the brilliant support that we have received from The Women's Organisation and 54 St James street, not only do they support and encourage us but they also provide the modern, professional and friendly roof over our head!"

The Downtown Liverpool Women in Business Awards take place on Friday 14th March at Hilton Liverpool when the overall winners will be announced.  We at 54 St James Street would like to wish Chrissi best of luck!

To find out more about Constructing Equality visit constructingequality.co.uk

If you would like to enjoy a stylish, professional office setting for your business please contact 54 St James Street via venue@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8100 to discuss availability of reasonably priced office space in L1, Liverpool City Centre.  








Michelle’s Making Moves in the Property Industry with Her Business @iLetsLPMLTD Celebrating Their 1st Birthday!


Experienced estate agent Michelle Ramejkis came to a cross roads in 2013 that would change her life forever. Having been made redundant from her successful property career for the second time as a knock on effect of the recession, Michelle had some thinking to do.

“Facing redundancy for the second time I had to think long and hard about my career. With the recession in full swing I was concerned that if I went to another agent it might happen again.  I enjoy working in the property industry and have gained vast experience through my time as an estate agent.  I decided the best move for me would be to be my own boss and eliminate that risk.”

Celebrating one year in business this month Michelle looked back at her business journey.
“I remember at the very start I spoke with a friend who had just set up her own business to see what information I could get and where to begin.  She suggested that I speak with The Women's Organisation as they had helped her a couple of months earlier.  I contacted them and made an appointment to speak to a business adviser.  She was fantastic and steered in the right direction.  It was great to have someone who was such a great support throughout the process.”

Michelle worked with her business adviser to assess the viability of her idea and to understand what she would need to do.

“The Women's Organisation helped me to set up a business plan and also plan a cash flow for the first year.  They showed me how to engage and use social media to promote my business and offered help every step of the way. I was unaware that they offered such a service and since then I have told everyone how good they were and how supportive they have been in helping me set up.”

Michelle launched her online lettings and property management business iLets LPM Ltd. at a special event at 60 Hope Street in March 2013, showcasing her progress so far and thanking her friends, family and the organisations who had helped her get her idea off the ground. She said “It was a great night and everyone talked about it for months afterwards.  It has been a great journey so far and I have enjoyed every single minute of it.  I am looking forward to meeting new people and expanding my business and seeing what direction it goes in.”

For Merseyside’s Michelle, setting up her own business has been a great adventure. She told us proudly: “The great thing about i-lets is that because it’s an online company, we are not restricted to a specific area.  I have a number of land lords who are out as far as Knutsford for whom I find tenants for his properties.  If I was a high street agent with a shop front then I wouldn't have his business unless my office was situated there. I have had 7 years’ experience in property which has really helped me in terms of how to deal with clients and understanding what works.” 

It took real courage stepping out of her comfort zone, going from a stable job with a steady income to having no clients and a new business reputation to build.  Michelle said “It seemed like a huge task but from the off I have built a great client base.  Every new property I have on my books is a referral from another client who has been satisfied with the service they have received.  Up to now I haven't had to spend any money on advertising for new land lords as they are coming through from my clients and their associates.”

Michelle has found real benefits to being her own boss and is enjoying the freedom it has given her.  “I am enjoying not being restricted to corporate rules.  I can be very flexible which is a huge benefit to my clients and they really like this.  I like that I can make decisions based on what is best for the company and clients and seeing what works.  I like that I can have an idea and put into practice straight away without waiting for it to be signed off and agreed by upper management.”

We asked Michelle how she would advise friends who were thinking of taking the leap into self-employment. She told us “I would definitely send them directly to The Woman's Organisation.  Without their help I wouldn't have been able to set up the company.  It is well worth doing your market research to make sure there is a need for your business in the area you plan to work in.  Also, check out your potential competitors in the area to see what services and charges they are offering.  Is it different to what you will be doing? How will you win business over them?”

Now celebrating her first anniversary in business the local entrepreneur said “I am so proud of what I have achieved in such a short time and I am so pleased that I took the chance and went with my idea. It has definitely been the best thing I have ever done and will concentrate on building the business.”

iLets LPM Ltd. are keen to continue to grow, and Michelle says “We are always open to taking on new land lords.  We are not specific to any area in particular so it doesn't really matter where about in the Northwest your rental property is, we can still help you find a tenant and manage it on your behalf.  Our fees are very competitive and I can guarantee that both our tenants and landlords have all had a positive experience with iLets LPM.”

If you are a landlord looking for help managing and renting your property you can contact Michelle to discuss how iLets LPM can help via 07961 797 641 enquiries@iletslpm.co.uk and visit www.iletslpm.co.uk to check out her property portfolio
.

Do you want to be your own boss?  Do you have ideas you could turn into a new business? If you are a woman based in Merseyside The Women’s Organisation can offer FREE advice and guidance to help you turn your ideas into a viable business.  Call 0151 706 8111 or email hello@thewo.org.uk today. 


Prestigious City Centre Business Address For A Little As £15 per month @54StJamesStreet


This £15 deal includes:
  • 54 St James Street as registered company address with prestigious L1 postcode
  • Mail notification and holding service
  • 10% discount on meeting rooms booked (as little as £9 per hour)
  • Business club membership, which includes regular invites to special events
  • Free wireless access in centre
  • Website listing

This package can be upgraded to include:
  • Land line telephone number, voice mail and message forwarding to mobile and email service
  • Up to 10 days per month access to hot desk suite, including computers, printers and copiers

Friday, March 7, 2014

Celebrating Inspirational Women on International Women's Day: Carol Matthews Story @RiversideUk @RiversideMersey

Celebrating Inspirational Women on International Women's Day
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate women’s success and mark their contribution to social and economic life. At The Women's Organisation we like to take the opportunity each year to hi-light the achievements of inspirational women.  This year we have chosen to hi-light the story of Carol Matthews Group Chief Executive of Riverside Group.  Carol Matthews is an inspiration leader and role model and we are delighted that she has shared some of insights with us as part of our International Women’s Day Celebration 2014.         
Carol Matthews, Group Chief Executive of Riverside Group.
Carol Matthews is the Group Chief Executive of Riverside, a charitable housing association which owns more than 50,000 homes across England and Scotland. The association specialises in sustainable regeneration, neighbourhood services and care and support for vulnerable tenants.
Carol is also a mother of three boys, and passionate about empowering women to be the best they can be. Carol grew up on a council estate in Glasgow, realising early on that education was the key to building the life that she wanted.
Her career has since taken her from a job collecting rent door to door in Sheffield to heading up one of the leading housing groups in the country. It’s a journey that has allowed Carol to learn many of her own lessons, and to develop a real understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing women today.
She says: “As women, we are very good at doing ourselves down – at dismissing our skills, at criticising ourselves, at not recognising our abilities. I’ve been guilty of it myself, but the key has always been to recognise those voices in your head for what they are – and not to listen! Throughout my career I’ve been in situations where I’ve sometimes felt out of my depth, not fit for the job – but the key is to just turn up, and get through it!
“Education and learning is the key – not just academic learning, but soaking up the knowledge that is around you, always being open to opportunities, and giving yourself the chance to achieve. Growing up as I did, I had a huge work ethic – I was working in a fruit shop when I was 12 – and hard work does pay off.”
Carol has also found that having children has been a huge advantage, helping her develop skills that have boosted her working life: “Before I had my children, I would work all hours, very willingly. But I think once you have children, you become so much better at juggling, at time management, at prioritising. At focusing on what really matters – so many women have those skills, but don’t recognise them for what they are.”
Given her personal and professional background, Carol has a keen understanding of how difficult it can be for women to find the motivation and support they need to succeed. University is not for everyone, and the financial and social obstacles faced by women in the communities where Riverside operates can be vast.
She says: “Women are capable of anything they set their minds to – but for some it is a harder path to follow. I’d say to them: find something you’re passionate about, something you’re good at. We are all good at something, no matter what our background is – it might be working with children, or older people, organising events within the community, making things or fixing things! Find that passion, and develop it – learn as much as you can, and try and find like-minded people to support you and to learn from.”
Riverside already has a real focus on supporting its residents and the neighbourhoods it serves. In the coming years, there will be even more of a focus on training, education, and helping people prepare for employment. They also provide services to help women move on from domestic violence.

Carol says: “We are working hard to build capacity in our residents – to help them to improve their own lives. To be in the position I am, the position I have worked hard to achieve, is an honour. It’s more than just a great job. Working with Riverside, we also get the opportunity to transform people’s lives and revitalise neighbourhoods. It’s an absolute privilege.”
About The Women's Organisation
The Women's Organisation are a social enterprise who have been campaigning and offering services to support the economic development of women since 1996.  We are passionate about helping women to realise their potential and become future leaders and business owners.  If you would like to find out more about our organisation please visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk