Women’s charities working together

Left to Right: Polly Harrar (Sharan Project), Rosie Parr and Jane Hampson (Futures for Women), Francesca McDowell (Breaking the Silence) and Ann Powell (Smart Works)

Futures for Women’s trustee Rosie Parr and secretary Jane Hampson visited Birmingham in May for an inspiring introduction to the Sharan Project’s employability programme, which Futures for Women are part-funding over the next two years.

The Sharan Project provides a two-week course in conjunction with the training provider ‘Go Train’, designed to help the women participants find employment. These women, from South Asian communities in the city, have experienced domestic violence, forced marriages or other abuse. Employment will help to reduce the risk of harm to them, and the programme is also supported by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.

At this induction day for the project’s first group of seven women, the tutors from Go Train outlined the course tuition in communication, IT and presentation skills, Sharan’s director Polly Harrar gave a confidence-building talk, stressing the focus on the personal aptitude and aspirations of each of the women, without putting them under any pressure. Another charity partner on the Sharan programme is Smart Works (whose patron is the Duchess of Sussex), and their local manager Ann Powell really motivated the group by explaining how her team would offer a full set of smart outfits and a makeover to each participant, plus interview coaching to help each woman achieve her employment goals.

It was very exciting for Rosie and Jane to meet the programme’s first recruits and to see the development of Futures for Women’s new strategy through the funding of the Sharan Project, which aims to help 20 vulnerable women in Birmingham into work this year, and another 20 next year.

The launch was also attended by Francesca McDowell from the social enterprise, Breaking the Silence UK, which supports women who have experienced domestic abuse, forced marriages and human trafficking.

Futures for Women – the Sharan Project – Smart Works – Breaking the Silence UK – these are four women’s charities working together to support disadvantaged women and to help them achieve fulfilled working lives.

Futures for Women is seeking more funding to enable us to collaborate with other UK charities to provide educational and training opportunities for women. If you would like to support our charity to further this work, you can give via the ‘Donate ‘page on this website.

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