Support for those of us with health conditions and disabilities
The Growing Club was founded by and is run by women with disabilities. As a result we attract a lot of neuro-diverse women and women with long term health conditions.
On March 14th, out of the blue, we got a phone call from Clare Fallon of Channel 4 news. She had seen our film about women aged 50+ and asked if they could come and talk to a group of our women – the next day!
Luckily for us, Rebecca runs a tight ship…
For the last 5 years we have been recruiting and training women in business as mentors for the women graduating from our start-up programme.
If you have been wondering about being a mentor, we thought you might like to read the view from both sides.
Firstly, Rebecca Young, a branding designer, and young woman who graduated from her cohort in the middle of the pandemic and completed her mentoring at Christmas 2022.
“I was so grateful for the opportunity to work with a mentor as part of the Growing Club’s Roots and Shoots programme. I was paired with a brilliant mentor who I had a strong connection with. Together we created a space where there were no wrong answers and no achievement was too small to celebrate. I felt deeply understood, even when I couldn’t always find the words to express myself. It was wonderful to talk through my ideas with someone who I knew without a doubt was on my side. I left each monthly session feeling energised and positive.
My mentor taught me several practical techniques for managing my time and structuring my work week. This has been an important step towards overcoming feelings of anxiety and overwhelm as I work towards my business goals. She also supported me as I worked through projects with clients, and it was really special to share those experiences with her and hear her perspective. I now have a much clearer idea of the services I want to offer and an understanding of what clients will expect from me.
Perhaps the most important thing I have gained is the momentum to keep moving forward, one step at a time, even if my journey takes longer than someone else’s. I was really moved to hear from my mentor in our last session together that she enjoyed the experience too and is proud of what we achieved together.”
Whilst most of our mentors are local to North Lancashire / South Lakeland, Favour Onabanjo is one of our mentors who zooms in from Surrey. She is now working with her second mentee.
“I have been on the Growing Club mentoring scheme for over a year now. I really enjoyed it. Firstly, I love to offer help where I can; I also derive joy in helping others to be their best. That’s my motivator.
Being a business coach, I initially found it tricky to follow the mentoring model. I am used to coaching and handholding many of my paying clients. And one of my strengths which can sometimes turn into a weakness, is giving the DRIVE that my client needs to move ahead and succeed. So, the mentoring felt like, I wasn’t working in my best capacity, and I wasn’t comfortable with that. But once I got to the swing of things. I began to blend in. I realised I was here to encourage, listen, use examples to empower them, make suggestions etc.
How interesting a mentoring journey is will be determined mostly by your mentee. Whether they are ready to do the work to make the changes, they are looking to see. One of my mentees is supercharged. I always look forward to our meeting. She’s an action-taker and takes her personal development seriously.”
As you can see, two very different personality types, and that is why we take time to carefully match mentee and mentor for best fit. And furthermore, we hold bi-monthly mentor forum meetings for sharing and support. So we don’t just throw you in there and hope for the best!
If you would like to know more about being a mentor with us, or would like to sign up to the training which starts in April, please contact Rebecca by phone or email.
The Growing Club designs and delivers employment and enterprise training and support, by women for women.
If you saw our Christmas newsletter you will have read this..
And finally, a heads up that 2023 will be the year we put lots of attention on numbers; from energy saving and understanding your bills, budgeting and getting out of debt. And to properly working out what to charge for your product / service. Because, to quote a quote that Cleona Lira sent me:
“English is important, but maths is importanter”
And so this post is to tell you what we are offering, who for – and why.
Last January we ran a retreat all about women and money. The experience of how empowering that was, combined with seeing the interesting responses to the finances curriculum on both our start-up and growth programmes, we have come to realise that there is some fundamental work that needs doing around numeracy for women.
Understanding that whilst we all deal with maths every day, but if we believe that maths is scary, we are disempowered from fully participating in life, in the summer we trialled a series of 4 Learning Lunches called Women and Numbers. The aim was a simple exploration of the blocks that come up for women when it comes to numeracy, with Ebony Rebecca, of Rose Tinted Financial, very gently enabling us to face those.
We have now been awarded some DfE funding called Multiply, to enable us to deliver an exciting range of fully funded support for women in Lancashire who haven’t reached GCSE level C, and / or want to build their confidence around all things numbers.
We are delivering this work in 3 ways:
And even better – everyone who participates in the Multiply programme will be entered into a prize draw to win one of these fabulous T-shirts from Ducon.
In addition to all that, we have the Winter Survival programme to help you reduce your energy bills. You can find out all about that here.
If you want help with anything around numeracy, please do get in touch with us via email to Rebecca@thegrowingclub.co.uk or call 01524 383846.
The Growing Club CIC designs and delivers employment and enterprise training and support for women
A blog on courage, preparation and giving it a go by Jane Binnion
When I bottled my first brew of nettle cordial years ago, it was an experiment. I’ve been making nettle soup for many years because it’s highly nutritious and I just love free food, but this was a first for me and I had no idea how it would turn out.
Sometimes we have to do that though, right? We just have to have a go and see how it turns out even if we know we might get stung in the process. However, we can do things to minimise the pain too.
Of course, nettles hurt. I fell into a ditch of nettles several years ago while cycling in rural China. It’s pretty nasty and hurts for a long time afterwards too. I still get stung when I’m picking nettles for soup, but I seem to have decided that it’s worth it.
But it got me thinking about the expression grasping nettles and what that means for those of us running a business or charity. It’s an expression that’s very meaningful to all of us. We know exactly what it would feel like to grasp nettles. So why on earth would we deliberately do it?
Well, there are a few reasons. If we don’t, they keep on growing anyway, but also look at what happens when we do pluck up the courage to grasp them. We may get stung but the results are great. When I eat this delicious soup or drink the cordial I can remember the stings, but I still feel really delighted with the results.
We can prepare ourselves for nettle grasping. It isn’t necessary to just rush in. Taking time to get organised can make it all a lot less painful. Nettle grasping is not an opportunistic task. If I was walking past a great crop wearing shorts, sandals and a T-shirt, I know that diving in would end horribly. When grasping real nettles I wear gloves, long sleeves and take scissors.
As for the cordial, it was actually really nice. It’s very refreshing and far better than any bottled cordial you can buy. Well worth a few stings.
If you’d like to chat about how we can help you to overcome any fears or issues in your business, please do drop us a message here.
*This post was originally published on janebinnion.com and has been reproduced here with permission.