Our secretary maintains contact with our beneficiaries as they complete their studies, and we were delighted to recently receive this uplifting update from a graduate of the University of Oxford.

“I have just completed an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. For me, this course was an opportunity to further my academic interest in international development and humanitarian issues as well as expand my knowledge of pressing subjects like human rights and refugee law. I can’t emphasise enough how formative this experience was. It stretched my academic limits but more importantly, coincided with international events including the Ukraine crisis that will have a lasting impact on the asylum landscape. I am also grateful to have experienced postgraduate life in Oxford. Alongside the degree, I undertook two internships as I felt it was important for me to apply my degree knowledge in a practical way to help refugees and asylum seekers. As a legal intern, I assisted Afghan women, who had fled the country after the Taliban takeover, with their asylum applications to Canada. It was incredibly inspiring to work with these women, who had previously held political office in their home country and who showed immense bravery in the face of adversity and danger. Now I have graduated, I have just started a new job in London, working for an international humanitarian organisation specialising in delivering relief in disaster and conflict areas globally. I want to thank Futures for Women again for helping make all of this possible and allowing me to follow my passion for this area.”

We always enjoy hearing feedback from our beneficiaries of an interest-free loan. One beneficiary recently contacted us to say:

“I am now working for a London gallery as an in-house Art Adviser, and I have found myself in a role that I truly love. My goal is to keep developing my art practice and build a portfolio – I am hoping to start my PhD within the next few years part-time. Thank you so much again for everything! Futures for women is such a worthwhile entity and you really helped me out when I needed the support the most. The gallery where I work supports not only women in the arts but also, they are very instrumental in supporting the development of my career. I have finally found a cultural and creative company where I feel at home.”

Research aiming to understand how new mothers and pregnant people experience Mental Health Services during their pregnancy and the first year after giving birth (Perinatal Mental Health Services) is being undertaken by University College London. Participants are being asked to complete an anonymous & confidential online survey which also offers the opportunity of signing up to a draw with cash prizes.

Little research has focused so far on how people experience Perinatal Mental Health Services and the support they offer. This research aims to inform the development of future NHS mental health services to better support mothers and families in need.

The research team is interested in hearing people’s experiences and thoughts about NHS mental health services during pregnancy and/or the first year after giving birth. You do not need to have attended any mental health appointment to take part in this study, but you do need to have been referred to a mental health service during your pregnancy and/or first year after giving birth. People who are currently pregnant or who have given birth in the last 3 years can take part.

Please visit this link to undertake the survey.

Fifty of the UK’s growing tech firms have been selected to join a scale up club which will support them in their growth to become global players in the industry – and 46% of these tech firms are headed by women.

The London networking group Silicon Valley Comes to the UK selected the 50 firms. The networking group was founded in 2006 and since that time has supported over 900 founders to grow their business.

It is believed that Ireland’s first female bank teller was Louise Nash, who was born in 1900 in Co. Kerry.

Louise was one of a family of 8 children and her father, Henry, was a coastguard stationed on Valentia Island in Ireland. Louise was only 5 years old when Henry died in 1905 [and four of her siblings were under 13 years old], leaving her mother Hannah to raise all her children alone. The Masons offered great support to Hannah and Louise went to boarding school at the Masonic Ladies College in Dublin whilst the rest of her family moved to England [both of her parents were English.] Louise was working in Dublin as a bank teller when she married her husband, William Layng in Kingstown in 1925 and during their married life they migrated to Australia.

A mirror once owned by Louise and handed down to her grandson, David Cassells, bears an inscription on the back which states “Irish Association for Promoting the *Training* [*missing] and Employment of Women. Office 21 Kildare Street.”. This Society provided vocational training for women to encourage them into work which might otherwise have been unavailable to them, the same aim of our own Society established by Jessie Boucherett in 1859.

We would like to thank David Cassells for sending over a photo of his grandmother, Louise Nash, and letting us know a little about her early life and career achievements.

Louise Nash aged 19 years
Louise Nash aged 19 years

In September 2022 our Trustees agreed nine further interest-free loan awards for women who need additional finance to help them with the costs of studying post-graduate degrees. The subjects being studied by the successful beneficiaries include medicine, criminology, sustainable fashion, film composing, film and TV editing and economic research. Some of the women are part-way through their studies and others are starting their degrees in 2022. We continue to be impressed with the quality of the applications that we receive and are pleased to be able to help nine women with their educational journeys and achieving their career goals.

Our interest-free loan programme is now closed for 2022. Please keep an eye on our “Apply” page for details of when our 2023 programme opens for applications.

In 2021 the Trustees of Futures for Women decided to award several grants to disadvantaged women studying further education courses at Grimsby Institute. The Institute was selected in memory of our founder, Jessie Boucherett, who grew up in Lincolnshire and whose grandfather had been Mayor of the town. Grimsby is also in an area of social deprivation.

The nine women we selected to support were all looking to improve their lives by studying courses such as hairdressing, health and social care or painting and decorating. The grants awarded by Futures for Women helped them to purchase items such as laptops or the tools required for their course.

In summer 2022 all of the women graduated from their chosen course. Six of the students decided to further their education by enrolling on the next level course and three of the women are now looking for employment. Feedback comments include:

“I’d like to say the bursary was so much help for me. I managed to have all the same tools as the other girls and always felt like I was the same as them, rather than the person who struggled. I feel very thankful for this scheme. I’m now qualified and hoping to be self-employed in the near future. Without the help you gave me I wouldn’t feel so positive as I do now about my working future. Thank you so much!”

We would like to send our best wishes to all of the Grimsby Institute students supported by Futures for Women for their future endeavours.

Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy was “a tiny, Jenny-wren like of a woman” who worked tirelessly to create a society where women were free and equal with men, able to choose how they lived their lives and free from violence endorsed by the laws of the country. Born in Manchester in 1833, her mother died days after her birth. From an early age Elizabeth was inquisitive and read widely; she soon decided that she wished to break out of the accepted role and be an independent woman.  But a university education was denied to Elizabeth for one reason – she was a woman. The Fulneck School near Pudsey gave Elizabeth her only opportunity of an education, which she grabbed with both hands. During her life of campaigning Elizabeth became a member of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women – the original name for our charity – and worked alongside Jessica Boucherett to support women into employment suited to their capabilities, rather than into domestic service or needlework.

A book by Dr Mary Holmes celebrating the life of Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy is shortly being published and Mary is undertaking a speaking tour to promote the book. The proceeds of the sales of the book and the tour are being split between Futures for Women and the Moravian Women’s Association.

Do you know of a social group, business or local network that might be interested in hosting one of Mary’s talks? You can contact Mary on mary@woodhall28.co.uk

Read more about Elizabeth’s life on this website.

Lovers of Lincolnshire history now have a wealth of new stories to discover – online and on foot – as the award-winning Market Rasen Heritage Tour and website expands from 14 stops to 20. This has been made possible by the addition of 6 new stories focusing on “Wolds Women of Influence”, taken from an exhibition of the same name which launched in 2018.   Our founder, Jessie Boucherett, and her sister Louisa feature in 2 of the 6 new stories.

The website can be found at www.marketrasenheritagetour.co.uk, where visitors can explore a vintage map of the town and find the women’s stories by clicking on blue bonnet icons.

Six new plaques have also been placed in and around the town at locations connected to the women, to give a companion walking tour. The plaques all have QR codes linking them to the story pages of the website.

The stories which feature Jessie and Louisa can be viewed on this page,