A youth programme is empowering young women in Coventry to make a positive impact in their communities and build their own self-confidence.
EmpowHER is a social action initiative led by national charity UK Youth, in partnership with the British Red Cross and the Young Women’s Trust.
So far, the programme has reached 208 young women and girls across Coventry and is being delivered by the Coventry Youth Partnership, through Positive Youth Foundation (PYF) and other community partners.
The programme, launched in October 2018, works with young women and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who face significant barriers in their lives.
EmpowHER participants are encouraged to drive change through social action, make their voices heard and support other young women in their communities.
Antonia Arnold, 17, was in the second cohort of participants and formed a group called MetamorphoSISTER with 10 of her peers.
As part of the programme, the group curated a panel evening featuring women with inspirational stories during the Change Festival at Warwick Arts Centre.
She said: “We started out as a group of girls who hadn’t really got that much in common, but now we’re really like a sisterhood. It’s been really good to have a group of people who can relate to you.
“The Change Festival panel was a real challenge, there was a lot of work involved, but we worked as a team and it went great.
“We created a panel of women who had done great things and had been through past traumas, built themselves up and become the best version of themselves.
“Some of the girls in the group have gone on to amazing things. I do work experience at the Belgrade in costume, and next year I’m planning on doing that professionally.
“Every time we see each other now, it’s like they’re your family, it’s been amazing.”
PYF is encouraging more organisations across Coventry to engage with EmpowHER. Partners involved to date include Creative Optimistic Visions, Coventry Boys & Girls Club, Aptitude, YMCA and Ascension Dance.
Katie Davis, programmes manager at PYF, said: “We are entering into cohort three of the programme and have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of delivery and leading strategically.
“We have been able to watch a clear journey that the young women and girls go through whilst expressing themselves and empowering each other.
“The collaborative element between partners has also been a huge highlight, with everyone working together to collectively improve and support young women’s wellbeing.”
EmpowHER is supported nationally with funding from Spirit of 2020 and the #iwill Fund. The programme has been delivered to young women and girls across the country.
Imogen Pursch, Head of National Programmes at UK Youth, added: “Our research shows us that the young women and girls who have completed EmpowHER show increased levels of wellbeing and confidence and an increased perception of their own ability to make a positive difference where they live, and a key part of that is participating in meaningful social action.
“Partnering with Positive Youth Foundation, we launched the first Social Action Pitch Day for EmpowHER, where participants took part in a public speaking workshop, met a body positivity role model through the British Red Cross and pitched their ideas to a panel.
“Seeing the enthusiasm, determination and hard work the young women and girls put into their projects is truly inspiring.”
PICTURE CAPTION: Antonia Arnold (front, centre) with EmpowHER participants and partners.
Additional Partner Quotes
Stacey Mason – Creative Optimistic Visions: “EmpowHER has enabled young women and girls to understand social barriers that affect them from a local, national and global perspective. It has provided our young women and girls with a skill set to create positive change both personally and socially, by raising awareness of such issues and proactively creating social change.”
Leah O’Laughlin – Coventry Boys & Girls Club: “Coventry Boys and Girls Club are both honoured and excited to be delivering the EmpowHER programme at CBGC in partnership with Positive Youth Foundation. It is extremely important that we build the self-esteem and wellbeing of young women, allowing them the platform to use their voice to effect change.
“We have seen the amazing outcomes achieved by previous cohorts of the EmpowHER programme, across the city. This programme will open up so many opportunities to the young women of CBGC, and we can’t wait to see the positive impact it has on their confidence, communities, and outlook on life”.
Tara Foster – Aptitude: “The EmpowHer project is a fantastic asset for CYP to have for young women and girls in Coventry. Aptitude Youth Workers will be delivering activities to develop positive mental wellbeing, supporting young women to build friendships and empower them to help others.”
Lisa Carroll – YMCA: “YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire is delighted to be working alongside Positive Youth Foundation and our colleagues within Coventry Youth Partnership to deliver EmpowHer. The outcomes we have seen for young women on the programme has been fantastic. We’ve loved watching their confidence bloom as they learn more about themselves and their community. Two young women from our last cohort won places to represent EmpowHer at a British Red Cross event in Geneva following their involvement in the programme. We’re so proud of them, and all those who have taken part in EmpowHer across our city.”
About UK Youth
Working across the UK for over a century, UK Youth is a leading national charity, and together with the UK Youth Movement, we reach more than 1.6 million young people. We provide access to youth services by facilitating organisations to provide support, develop skills and give access to opportunities for 9-25-year-olds regardless of their background or circumstance.
Young people with complex needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are being hardest hit by rising inequality and cuts to local services. Never has there been a more crucial time for organisations to work with young people.
91% of young people supported by UK Youth face at least one barrier to progression; from being in care, experiencing homelessness to having a disability or poor mental health. We work in partnership with local youth clubs and organisations to deliver high-quality services, grow good practice and campaign to increase nationwide investment and support for young people and youth work. To find out more, visit the UK Youth website or funding.ukyouth.org.
For more information please contact:
Georgia Morian, Communications Manager
T: 0203 1373 810 Ext: 408