As WREN comes to an end, we look back at how the programme has supported women in upskilling, confidence-building and even gaining employment.
Funded through the Government’s Tampon Tax Fund, the WREN (Women Rising Enabling Neighbourhoods) aimed to empower women in King’s Lynn, Margate and Great Yarmouth to inspire and create positive change in other women. This unique one-year grant programme offered 13 grassroots organisations supporting women facing adversity the opportunity to train as Community Champions. Training and qualifications were also provided to upskill volunteers so they can offer professional advice to women in their communities.
Project Manager, Megan Kane, says,
It has been fantastic to witness the determination and commitment of the community champions, the pride, sisterhood, inclusivity and enthusiasm has been evident throughout the project. We have seen their confidence rocket and it’s been a pleasure to hear their plans for the future and how the organisations are embracing that too.
In total, 118 women started the WREN journey with 78 completing City and Guilds Assured Learning to Advise training. 101 additional training certificates were awarded, and 25 women secured paid employment with many others now returning or seeking employment and improvements with mental health. In total, WREN Community Champions supported 1463 additional women in their local communities.
WREN’s attitude was to be inclusive – a sisterhood and no woman was left behind. All women were welcomed. Organisations provided a variety of community events: Warm Hubs for elderly women, a book club to increase the women’s literacy skills, a circus skills workshop, forums, drop ins, arts and crafts workshops, a family & parent events in Margate, a Bollywood evening where 95 women attended. All the events were to create a be fun and sense of belonging. Training was also offered by St Giles covering Trauma Informed practice, financial capabilities, wellbeing workshops, mental health awareness, employability workshops and digital skills. This all helped to upskill the Women Community Champions.
Some women seeking refuge or asylum told us they felt they had lost their sense of identity. That sense of not belonging can face women who have relocated to the UK. Through WREN, they were able to rebuild their confidence and reconnect with themselves, away from any labels and build stronger connections to their new communities. Although the programme has ended, a film was made to capture some of the stories and show how different women have embraced WREN to use their lived experience in making a difference to an organisation. You can view the film here.
A WREN toolkit was also created as a self-assessment tool for organisations to measure where they are with lived experience currently and give them resources to embed a robust and individual lived experience model into their organisation.
To find out more about our Lived Experience toolkit, please contact email@example.com
On Your Side, one of the organisations supported by WREN says:
Seeing these women rise with their very different lived experiences shows how the WREN programme fulfils its brief as an embodiment of women supporting women.