Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Integrity Is The Key To Business Success For The ADHD Foundation & Dr Tony Lloyd

 Last year the ADHD Foundation celebrated its 10th birthday. That’s a decade of commitment to; ‘improving life chances through better understanding and management of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)’ and what a decade it has been…

The ADHD Foundation, in their own words; ‘works in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers and other agencies to improve emotional well-being, educational attachment, behaviour and life chances, through a better understanding and self-management of ADHD, ASD and related learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Irlen’s Syndrome, dyscalculia and Tourette’s Syndrome.’

They also provide training to professionals and raise awareness to bring positive change and inclusion. One of their awareness raising activities you may have noticed if you happened to be waling down Church Alley in Liverpool city centre last year…200 colourful umbrellas suspended in the air as if they were floating down from the sky!

These huge splashes of colour that were there to raise awareness and understanding and encourage discussion around ADHD and autism, and aptly called; ‘The Umbrella Project’ Each individual umbrella was personally signed by children from St Oswald’s primary school in Old Swan, and across Merseyside, many of whom have ADHD, autism and other neurodevelopment conditions.

Dr Tony Lloyd, CEO of the ADHD Foundation said; ‘ADHD and autism are ‘umbrella terms’ for a whole variety of neurodevelopment difficulties, and we want to highlight that fact and challenge the stigma of what can be ‘invisible’ disabilities. The Umbrella Project is about reminding adults – be it parents, teacher or potential employees – that young people with ADHD are other conditions possess many gifts, talents and skills to offer their communities. Their condition is not a disabler, but an enabler, a superpower!’

The work that the ADHD Foundation is incredible and so important, and The Women’s Organisation feel lucky to have been able to support them over the past year to grow under our business growth programme; New Markets 2. Dr Tony Lloyd has been working closely with Enterprise Enabler, Ali McGrath and Senior Business Adviser, Janine Hyland on growing the business and accessing finance.

Ali says; ‘We’ve helped Tony with refinancing the business and been able to secure them funding and a significant grant with First Ark to help grow the business. Janine worked with Tony on a future-proofed growth business plan to assist in setting up a separate trading company CIC to generate new revenue for charity purposes so they are secure and sustainable for the coming years.’

Over the past ten years the ADHD Foundation has grown from strength to strength and at The Women’s Organisation it has been great to support that growth. During those ten years Tony told us that; ‘The business has grown from having a £90,00 turnover in 2010 to a £700,000 turnover in 2017-18 and we now have key partnerships across all sectors as well as being the leading provider of trainings to schools in the UK.’ 

And what is Tony’s key to success? He told us it was this…

‘Innovation! And…Having multiple income streams that weather any challenges to funding. Now, as a charity we have a strong business model. In my business journey I have learnt the importance of integrity. Integrity in business is everything, in the face of challenges being ‘values’ driven is an important motivator.’

And what plans does Tony have for the future of the ADHD Foundation…
‘We will continue to demonstrate that the Liverpool region is a model of excellence and that social capital is key to success.’

Dr Tony Lloyd and the ADHD Foundation were supported by The Women’s Organisation under our New Markets 2 programme for businesses focussing on business to business activity in the Liverpool City Region (Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley and Halton) area who are ready to take their business to the next level, expanding their team and significantly increasing turnover.

AND...We've been told by Tony and the team to let you know that you should keep looking UP for the umbrellas as they are due to pop up again in the near future! 

For more information contact us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8111
You can find out more about the ADHD Foundation on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Love Letter to Liverpool’s Children’s Centres, from Mandy Meaghan

Over a year ago, we launched confidence-building programme Change It: Progress to Success, supported by the Big Lottery Fund and in partnership with Liverpool's Children's Centres. 

This partnership with the children's centres ensured that Change It would be delivered right in the heart of Liverpool's communities and in a safe space that supports all members of the family from tots, to teens to adults. 

Having spent so much time there, our 'Change It' Trainer Mandy has a few words to say on the importance of Children's Centres to local families and the wider community. So, we invited Mandy to do a guest blog! Have a read on her thoughts here .. 

They say the family is the glue that binds, but what happens if you don’t actually have a supportive family? Lets say, you are a parent trying to cope with a new born baby and the hardships now apparent in modern Britain – where do you go for family support?

I believe that the answer is children’s centres.

Not all parents have the support from their families, extended families and even neighbours in the street who would often be there to help out with advice, babysitting and a cup of sugar. Some may not have the luxury of the hands on grandparents to gain invaluable parenting advice – in fact, many  may be from a broken family and be experiencing poverty and isolation.

This is the very reason children’s centres exist; as an intervention to serve the poorest families in the poorest wards of England – that’s 4000 national spaces dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families.

Today, Children’s Centres are a hub of community engagement and activity that’s supported by local councils, family services, domestic abuse services, health services and adult learning services, all catering for the 21st century family.

For those of us who work with or use the Centres, we know of the extraordinary value they bring to thousands of women’s and children’s lives every day, and a recent Oxford University Study confirms it.

The fact that social isolation is no longer associated with the perils of the elderly is indicative of a society that is breaking down communities and dismantling the very core principles of the ‘glue that binds.’ Mums on their own with kids often experience a lonely existence, however, I have seen the very same mums lives turnaround completely by being part of another type of ‘family’ that operate under the roof of a purpose-built building where ‘everybody knows your name’.

It’s a place to share the joys and fears of being a new mum, the first tooth and steps, feeling proud that your child ate all their dinner and wondering what to do when the stress is too much to cope with. This is when then the children’s centres step up ... with a helping hand, not a judgemental finger wag.

It’s the place where everything is at, from financial advice, health tips, childcare support, maths and English classes, family link workers, contact centres for fathers to see their children and much more.

But as they say they are ‘not kids for long’ and we are ‘not just mums’. As the kids get older, we ask,  ‘what’s next for mum’? At the children’s centres mums can figure out just that through services such as CV support classes or career guidance sessions to smooth over that transition to work, training and education.

If getting a job is the crucial element then the Children’s Centres work with the Better Off Finance Team to advise on benefits and money management, so that mums don’t fall into any poverty traps.
If its education or training then the referral can be to Adult Learning Services and Liverpool City Careers and Guidance or attend the classes at the Children’s Centres from basic maths, English and ESOL and computers/ IT.

For some of those mums who feel they need the confidence to maybe change old habits and look to build a more positive future, then the Change It programme, supported by the Big Lottery Fund is definitely the next step.

The Women's Organisation have successfully provided this confidence building course for a year now with some great successes helping women from deprived communities achieve their goals of becoming who they are meant to be … successful, happy and fulfilled in whatever they desire. We run this programme in Liverpool’s children’s centres over eight sessions for two hours covering; assertiveness, thinking skills, learning styles, process of transition, negative beliefs, motivational skills and next steps to success.

So, what were the provisions available for mums before Children’s Centres? The answer is very little. In fact, before 1998 young mums used to be penalised and discriminated against instead of supported to be the best mum they can be. This is why we support the campaign to keep children’s centres open and available to those who need it most, in areas that need it more than ever and in the lives of mums that without them have no one.

Children’s centres are the invisible family that binds communities together.

For more information on Surestarts in your area click here.

If you think that this programme could be for you, we have a new batch of programmes starting in various venues around the city, and you can book your place now!

54 St James Street - Wednesday 12th September 2018 (4 Sessions)
Dingle Childrens Centre -Thursday 20th September 2018 (8 sessions)
Toxteth Firefit Hub - Thursday 20th September 2018 (5 sessions)Everton Childrens Centre - Monday 8th October 2018 (5 Sessions)

For more information on the Change It Program contact a member of our team on 0151 706 8111 or hello@thewo.org.uk.

Friday, February 16, 2018

“Leaving Feeling So Positive About Moving Forward!” – An Inspiring Business Club at #LoveYourBusiness!

In the spirit of Valentines Day, we had a mission to help our Business Club members love their business.

Every business owner knows what it feels like to feel bogged down in paper-work and a to-do list as long as your arm. Starting a business is not an easy decision and usually includes long hours, big decisions and asking yourself “have I made the right decision?”.

Well, we think you have. Turning your passion into a business reality is something that deserves applauding, so make sure you constantly remind yourself WHY you started in the first place.

We recruited the help of two amazing women who had a business idea and made it happen. Irene Afful and Marissa Rooney both became entrepreneurs through sheer hard work and determination, and a little guidance from The Women’s Organisation.

Irene Afful is Director of Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, Professional Coaching & Consultancy Services. If you haven’t heard Irene’s story, it’s pretty incredible and we recommend that you head to this YB news article to read about it in more depth!

A young girl growing up in Toxteth the same time as the Toxteth Riots, Irene experienced racial abuse from police officers. She later joined the force with a mission to transform its discriminatory culture and lay the foundation for a more diverse workforce. Irene did just that, eventually becoming Merseyside Police’s first black female inspector.

Now a businesswoman running her own coaching and consultancy venture, Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, Irene says “One of my ambitions was always to have my own business. I love working with people, supporting people and empowering people to achieve what they want to, seeing other people succeed gives me so much satisfaction.”

However, Irene doesn’t take nurturing her business lightly, “You can’t give 100% to your business if you don’t love yourself first. If you don’t look after yourself, you simply don’t have the energy to give to your business” – wise words from the incredible, Irene.

Irene left us with a quote from herself, “live your passion but .. make sure that you love yourself! Then you will love your business” – thanks Irene!

Next up was Marissa Rooney! Marissa has just began a bridal shop, Beautiful Brides Liverpool on Aigburth Road, specialising in fitting curvaceous women on their special day. Marissa told us all about her entrepreneurial journey, detailing the leap of faith she took into the unknown, “Fashion was the one thing I kept going back to. My nan taught me to sew and I was always creative growing up. When it came to starting a business, I kept thinking, ‘will I be taken seriously?’”.

Marissa contacted The Women’s Organisation, where she began working with our Jo, “the support network I had from The Women’s Organisation, meeting women every day at the bridal shop and at events like this, I feel like I’m in paradise. I’m surrounded by amazing women every day, and that drives my passion”.

It was clear to see Marissa’s love for her business, and that definitely left our Business Club members feeling inspired and motivated to push on.

We followed the talks with some 60-second pitches and lot’s of networking – and we mean LOTS – it was great to see so all of our attendees making contacts and arranging collaborative plans for the future. Comments from Business Club included:

“Most productive session I have ever attended! Left feeling so positive about moving forward”

“Great event! Really inspiring talks. Enjoyed meeting some great women in business”

“Brilliant speakers. Lovely to hear about other women’s struggles and stories around self-employment”

“Thank you very much for holding tonight’s networking. It was so useful to hear other people’s experiences and to have the opportunity to meet women with different businesses”

Thanks to everyone who came, and to our amazing speakers, Irene Afful and Marissa Rooney. You can find out more about Ametrine Enterprise Solutions and Beautiful Brides Liverpool.

Next up in the Business Club calendar is International Women’s Day! It’s going to be a big one – you can find our full agenda here.

To find out more about Business Club, contact us on hello@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8111.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Siobhan Noble And Her Business, Drops of Light CIC, Brings Arts To The Community 🙌

Drops of Light CIC are a community focused theatre production company which launched just over a year ago in February 2017. The business is run by Siobhan Noble alongside her business partner; James Lacey.

Prior to starting Drops of Light, Siobhan ran Liverpool fringe venue; The Lantern Theatre from 2011 until its closure in 2016, producing a number of the venues in-house productions and coordinating the popular Shine New Festival. Whilst Siobhan was running the The Lantern Theatre she met her now business partner, James Lacey and as proceedings began to close down she began speaking to James about working on a new project together…Drops of Light CIC.

‘We knew that we wanted to do something together and spoke about doing pantomime but doing it differently and getting the community involved through offering training opportunities to them.’

This is when Siobhan got back in touch with The Women’s Organisation. Siobhan knew about our services as she had accessed them when setting up The Lantern Theatre so was confident that we would be able to support her in her new adventure!

Siobhan Noble
‘I thought it would be a good idea to get some support from the team at The Women’s Organisation as Drops of Light was really different to The Lantern Theatre in terms of setting it up. I took over The Lantern business, whereas this time we were starting from scratch.’

The pair were teamed up with Senior Business Adviser, Janine Hyland who has a 
specialism in social enterprises and community interest companies. Siobhan says; ‘Janine was brilliant and really helpful Things that I would never think of, she would always think about! She made the whole process really smooth.’

James Lacey
Siobhan and James soon formed their new business Drops of Light CIC and decided they wanted to create engaging theatre that is inclusive of the wider community. Their first production was to be ‘Beauty and the Beast’, a Christmas pantomime!

‘Beauty and the Beast’ rand throughout December at central Liverpool venue, The Black-E and Siobhan told us that;

‘The production was run collaboratively between professional actors and creatives, working alongside community groups who will be guided through workshops by a range of industry professionals. We had over 150 participants in the whole of the process, which was just amazing!’

As an organisation, Drops of Light CIC is incredibly focussed on the power that theatre can have within communities and has been providing training and experience to members o Liverpool City Region for a range of backgrounds.

Siobhan told us; ‘We ran a series of workshops which lasted for twelve weeks in advance of the production. These offered participants the opportunity to gain valuable skills in a range of theatrical disciplines.’

James Lacey, Siobhan’s business partner told us that he believes; ‘Access to the arts is invaluable, we hope through our workshops and hands on experience that participants will build both skills and confidence in the creative industry.’

The workshops were available to all ages and abilities and were free to everyone! Facilitated by industry professionals they included a range of skills such as acting, choreography, script writing, set design and building, costume designing, event management and marketing.

And as well as this, Siobhan and James have now secured funding to facilitate paid internships for young people across the region and are growing the business, focussing on producing 3 or 4 shows per year with an attached programme of training for the community. There really is some incredible work for the arts is being done by Drops of Light CIC.

If you want to find out more about Drops of Light CIC, you can visit their website, Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with what they’re up to!

And, if you’ve been inspired by Siobhan and James and would like support to start your own business get in touch with us today! Email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8111.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Karen Hopes Her Business Growth Will Soon Fulfill Her Dreams

Karen wishes she had started her business 20 years ago, but wonders, would KRN Events really be as good if she’d started it back then?

Karen Scott works as a Learning Support Assistant in a primary school as well as juggling her small events company based in Aigburth.

Feeling restless in her job in the school, with her two children now in their 20s, Karen decided she needed to make a change. She had made cakes for friends and family before and wanted to pursue something that would invite some creativity.

With an idea of setting up an events company, she set about conducting her own market research. She soon realised that her personable approach would be what made her events business stand out.  

Karen said: “I was quite nervous to begin with as I’ve never done anything like this before.  A couple of people had recommended The Women’s Organisation to me and to be honest I had never heard of it before. 

“I am so glad that I sought advice from them as it gave me the confidence and encouragement that I needed to go forward.”

Karen knew that the best way to market her services would be through wedding fairs. At first, she felt nervous approaching venues and hotels with her enquiries, but it was worth the effort. Her first event was at The Crown Plaza Hotel in Speke last year.

She said: “It was such a challenge for me and I was so nervous. I had 4 bookings on that first night and the people were so friendly and loved what we had (which was a Magic Mirror and Candy Cart then). 

"Since then we have done so many wedding fairs and I’ve been promoting these on social media.  We have 20 weddings booked so far this year, which has allowed me to grow the business.”

Karen with her family helping out at an event in Sefton Park's Palm House

Karen said: “I feel so much more confident.  I wish I had done this 20 years ago, but I probably wouldn’t have done it as well as I am now.  I love the freedom I have, to go in whichever direction I please to get the business going. 

“I am so positive that this will be a huge success for me and my family as we work so well as a team and love what we have to sell!”

KRN Events cater for a wide array of occasions. As well as balloons, flowers and venue dressing, they can organise the hire of magic mirrors, photo booths, candy cart, starlight back drops and a 16’ sq LED dance floor. If you would like more information on KRN Events, visit their website here.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

✊ The Suffragettes and Us…#100Years ✊

Today, February 6th marks 100 years since some (but not all) British women were given the right to vote.

The Representation of the People Act was passed on this day in 1918 which enabled selected women to vote in the elections…So what were the requirements?

  • Were you a woman over 30?
  • Or did you own a property?
  • Or were you a graduate voting in a University constituency?

If you ticked any one of these boxes, today was your lucky day. You were given a voice and now had the power to vote. As a result, over eight and a half million women were added to the electoral roll. But that still left a huge percentage of the population powerless to use their voices and vote…

Now 100 years on from this landmark occasion, a lot has changed, and we have a lot to be thankful for to the women who changed the world before us…The Suffragettes.

Three Mancunian women; Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst changed the landscape of the world forever and they did it through…’Deeds not words’

Emmeline, Christabel & Sylvia Pankhurst
Their determination, tenacity and focus to always act upon what they knew was right in their hearts and continue to stand up, march and fight for women’s rights led to these massive changes and shifts in history. They stood up and took action. They didn’t watch from afar. They were in the mix, pushing for progress.

Now 100 years on, women are still marching and still fighting. With cultural landslides like the #MeToo movement, #TimesUp, gender pay gap related scandals and so much more, it feels like we are at another tipping point. Another moment in history where things are going to change, for the better.  

So, today on this landmark day, we are asking YOU...Where are you going to stand in the history books?

Will you go down as someone who marched, who fought, who made a change and pushed for gender equality?

We know that we will…

A 2018 march

To celebrate this important day, here’s a few of our favourite quotes from some incredible women…

Our friend and great granddaughter of Suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, Helen Pankhurst has said; 

“Let’s keep up the feminist pressure throughout 2018 – not just because it’s a centenary year but because it has the markings of being a remarkable year in its own right. What we are seeking is a world in which the voice of everybody counts, irrespective of sex, gender, sexuality, colour, ethnicity, creed, disability, class, age, political persuasion and whatever other category is introduced to demean those who are not like us. What we are demanding of society is dignity within a rich tapestry of differences.”

Helen Pankhurst who launches her book ‘Deeds Not Words, The Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now’ this Thursday and you can read her full blog here

And If you remember Helen visiting us back in 2016, check out the blog we wrote about this amazing day here!

“As we celebrate #100years since some women got to vote, let’s honour those who went before us and paved the way; look forward to where we want to be in the future; and most importantly, be mindful about the role we all play today” – Kate Richardson-Walsh, Olympic gold & bronze medallist. OBE. Former GB & ENG hockey player

“100 years since women got the vote, fewer than 1/3 of MPs are female, all chancellors to date have been men, more than 90% of PLC executive direcots are men, and women are yet to serve in close combat roles (though some are in training). History still needs to be made – Cathy Newman, Channel 4 Presenter

Join in the conversation today on Twitter by following the hashtags #100Years #Votes100 #Suffragette100