Friday, January 27, 2017

Meet Our New Team Member - Jenny Wallwork

Our Finance Team & Training Team has grew in rapid numbers over the past few months. Our new team members are certainly part of The W.O family now, and we’d like you to get to know them too. Over the coming weeks we will be sitting down with new staff to find out more about their interests, delve into their past and discover how they ended up with us at The Women’s Organisation. Up first is Jenny Wallwork, she is our new Training Development Specialist and will be working on the new ‘Change It: Progress to Success’ programme at 54 St James Street and Everton Children’s Centre.

What’s your full name and where are you from?

Jenny Wallwork, born and bred in Liverpool

Tell me how you first found out about The Women’s Organisation and become part of our team?

I first found out about The Women’s Organisation, when I noticed a vacancy for a Training and Development Specialist which was advertised, I did what most people do and googled to find out more about the WO and its values and beliefs.  Straight away, I was taken in by the support and diversity that they offered and decided to apply.  I was lucky enough to be asked for interview and as they say the rest is history.


What kind of things have you done prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation?

As a teacher/trainer I have worked within Further Education and for over 10 years I worked within Sefton Local Authority delivering Family Learning programmes within the community.  I then worked for a wonderful charity called Home-Start delivering training on a national basis, throughout the UK and also British Forces Germany.

What has surprised you about working at The Women’s Organisation?

I am really impressed with the buzz about the place, whether working for the WO or seeing the amount of tenants and people who hire rooms for training and conferences at 54 St James Street.  The work ethic is incredible, it literally is head down and coming up for air for coffee and lunch  Ha!

What’s the best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation?

It is a wonderful environment to work in, energetic, productive and inspiring.  To have the opportunity to help and guide women regardless of background is a privilege.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

We are currently in the process of launching a new 8-week personal development programme called ‘Change it’ Progress to Success' course.  Most days, I have been networking within the local community and local children’s centres, promoting and marketing and building a rapport with contacts within the area.  The programme is due to start in a couple of weeks, whereby I will be delivering out in the community and also at 54 St James Street .. Exciting times!


What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

A few things, from leaving college I joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service and lived in Norway for 2 years, working for NATO, with my daily office being at the centre of a huge mountain.
In my younger days (very young) I played for a ladies football team.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I enjoy family time, spending time with my two grown up children is a pleasure, one lives and works in London, whilst the other is studying at Glasgow University. (opposite ends of the UK, do you think they are trying to tell me something!)  I enjoy my Zumba classes and I am a season ticket holder at Liverpool Football Club, have been for over 30 years.  Spending time with friends is important to me and I have a large circle of lifelong friends, with whom I meet up with as often as possible.  Life is never dull, there is always something happening within the Wallwork household

Welcome to the team Jenny, we are very happy to have you here! 

You can find out more about The Women's Organisation's new programme Change It: Progress to Success, which Jenny will be working on here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Excelerate Labs Gives Support To Nadia Siddiqui To Grow Her Business; Women's Voices

Women’s Voices is an integrated multi-service agency that supports vulnerable women integrating them into the community. The Founding Director, Nadia Siddiqui is a respected and renowned voice within the local BME community and her work with Women’s Voices helps to break down language/communication barriers and to combat ignorance and educate the wider society.


The Women’s Organisation provided business growth support to Nadia and Women’s Voices and Business Adviser Ameena Ahmed assisted her to put together a three-year strategic business plan. With this plan, Nadia will now be working towards generating income for the business through grant applications and also recruiting staff through the Big Lottery Fund. 

Excelerate Labs, our business growth programme for Manchester, is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and offers FREE business growth consultancy to businesses registered in Greater Manchester who are operating in a business to business sector and ready to grow.

Excelerate Labs expert Business Growth Advisers can support you with:

• Developing Growth Strategy

• Accessing Markets

• Building Strategic Sales & Marketing Plans

• Developing Effective Leadership

• Gaining Support with Financial Management, Procurement, Bids & Tenders

• Linking to Networks & Developing Strategic Partnerships

• Measuring & Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility

Or building your business in another way. 

If you are interested in receiving support contact our team via exceleratelabs@thewo.org.uk 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Knowsley Based Katie Davies Decided Working For Herself Was The Answer With Her Business ‘Hello You Beauty’

Katie Davies, a single parent to 3 children from Whiston, Knowsley decided back in 2012 to begin making changes in her life. Previously Katie had worked as a barmaid and waitress and spent time raising her young family. Katie told us; ‘I never really knew what I wanted as a career, but I always knew that I wanted to be successful and I wanted a job that I enjoyed doing. I decided to start a college course as Beauty Therapist, more out of general interest at first.’

But as soon as Katie began her studies, it was clear to her that she had found her passion! She completed her Level 2 and 3 Beauty Therapy at Knowsley Community College as with as her further studies at Riverside College. ‘I knew when I started studying straightaway that this was what I wanted to do as a profession’ and Katie found that she loved the science of the course mixed with the creativity of it; ‘It was my two passions rolled into one. So I knew early on when I was starting my Level 2 Beauty Therapy course that I was planning on being a Mobile Beauty Therapist.’

Once Katie had decided that she would be setting up her own business, she began to build her kit making sure she had everything that she would need to be a freelance. ‘I then heard about The Women’s Organisation and when I was in a position to launch I got in touch with them!’ and although Katie admits that she was nervous at first she soon got the ball rolling after she was paired up with Business Adviser; Francine Taylor. ‘The support I’ve been given has been amazing, and because of that my confidence grew massively and it didn’t feel so scary. It felt exciting!’

Katie attended three courses at The Women’s Organisation; Planning for Success, Understanding Tax and National Insurance and Basic Bookkeeping and worked with Francine to put together a solid business plan. ‘Francine has been absolutely amazing! She’s given me some great ideas about expanding my business and has put me in touch with some great connections, I couldn’t be more grateful.’


Now, Katie’s business, ‘Hello You Beauty’, is going from strength to strength. As a Mobile Beauty Therapist Katie offers a range of beauty, make-up and massage treatments for clients in the comfort of their own homes, all across her local area. ‘Things are going really well so far. I have almost doubled sales projections for the past two months and I’m excited for the future of the business as there are so many different directions I want to explore.’
And for Katie, she is now able to enjoy the benefits of being her own boss. ‘I had always been employed before, meaning someone else was in charge of my shifts and the days I worked. Now I can fit my workload around my children.’

‘But the best thing about running my own business is that it gives me the freedom to do a job that I love. It’s a passion and doesn’t feel like work at all. It also allows me to still be a full time Mum, so I get the best of both worlds!’

And Katie is planning big for the future of ‘Hello You Beauty’. As well as currently running the business and looking after her family, she is studying Level 4 Micropigmentation. ‘After I have completed this, I intend to progress onto arrange of advanced skills within the industry, become a qualified trainer and eventually open up my own training academy.’

If you would like to find out more about Katie’s business, you can do so using the contact details below!

Phone Number: 07519 753035 

And if you’ve been inspired by Katie’s story and would like help starting your own business, then contact us! You can email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8111







Thursday, January 19, 2017

Identify The Barriers To Growing Your Business

Every business has their own difficulties that are specific to them, and can prevent them from expanding. At The Women’s Organisation, we think it is so important that our business women try to identify their barriers and learn how to overcome them.

Research from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) showed that in 2011 67% of SME employers had an aspiration to grow over the next two to three years but only about 20% will grow each year.

In the past there has been little focus on the performances of small businesses in relation to growth, with the measurement of growth looking more towards big business. But there are barriers that SME businesses face when they are looking to expand, which can differ depending on factors such as location, industry and structure. However, there are issues and ugly doubts that rear their head at any time in an entrepreneur’s life.


And in this blog, we are going to look at identifying these doubts and insecurities and think about solutions to overcome them.

           You’ve lost your mojo!

We’ve all been here, your get up and go has deserted you and you no longer feel self-motivated, you might even find yourself wondering why you bother with this business. You’re not busy and you can’t be bothered to get busier.

If running your business seems to be a 24/7 job, maybe you need to carve out more of a life outside your business. Earlier this year, the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology came out with a study of 350 people with a variety of jobs and hobbies, and found that the more people engaged with a hobby the more likely they were to be better problem solvers in their job.
Or perhaps try to challenge yourself within your business, challenge yourself to find ways of attracting new business. Perhaps because you haven’t been trying to bring in new customers, you’ve just been going through the motions. Focus on your marketing, seeing quick results may spark something and help get your passion and mojo back

           You lack focus

So you might be really busy, but do you struggle to finish things, or have so much to do that you don’t know where to start. Perhaps you’re bogged down with the everyday tasks and can’t find time for the important ones. You might wish you were more organised or efficient.

Thankfully there are plenty of ways that you can become a more organised individual, apps on your smart phone, detailed diaries and notes upon notes. We would recommend writing a master plan in terms of growing your business. What are the overall aims then break these down into manageable chunks, setting yourself targets, deadlines and rewards. Having this laid out in front of you can look daunting but it’s better than being all up in the air.

          Cash flow problems?

Is your business active and busy, but are you lacking funds in the bank account? Maybe your business spends more than it makes, or there is always money tied up in places, so you have insufficient funds to complete your work-in-progress.

Without very diligent cash flow management, or the raising of more funds, a business is often constrained by this. Many fantastic entrepreneurs cannot overcome this obstacle in their business, and cannot understand why lenders can’t provide financing as SME’s don’t always have the security to support the debt.

But the solution is easier than many of us realise. It beings, as most great things do, with a plan. Plans to see what your cash needs are and when your cash needs to rise. Then you are in position to manage it and focus on cash management techniques, making you more likely to be successful in your business.  

          You have no support network

It can be lonely if you are a SME, and running your own business. There aren’t big meetings where you can talk ideas and brainstorm strategies, and the buck stops with you! Always! Nobody holds you accountable so your plans can often slip behind schedule.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners can feel alone in their business. Check out this fantastic article written by Meredith Fineman; ‘An entrepreneur opens up about how she fights loneliness at work.'

‘Sometimes you need to feel those dips to be happy with the peaks. It's also learning how to disconnect, or to unplug from all that is going on around you in order for you to focus on what you need, what your company needs, and where you want to go’

           People Problems 

You’re finding it difficult to manage your employees, who aren’t working well together as a team. Your staff don’t have any role descriptions and are perhaps underperforming. What can you do to overcome this big barrier?

Sometimes a lack of management skills is a problem that is probably the most difficult to deal with, as in most SME’s, the senior management team is limited. The solution is to determine what the areas of weakness are, and then develop a plan for dealing with those challenges. Once you spend the time recognising a weakness, it is often compensated for without a lot of time, effort or money.



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!”

3) RELAX

“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, info@sirenliverpool.co.uk or head to www.sirenliverpool.co.uk/ . 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 lucycashman@thewo.org.uk!

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 hello@thewo.org.uk.


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
Stoneycroft Children's Centre, Scotvia Road,  L13 6QJ

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
Stoneycroft Children's Centre - Thursday 9th 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 hello@thewo.org.uk


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: hello@thewo.org.uk  

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