What the heck is The Sowing Club? The title, The Sowing Club, was a deliberate play on words. It is a short course with a small group of your peers, where together we sow the seeds of possibility.
What is The Sowing Club all about?
On a practical level it is a group that meets one morning a week for 6 weeks. Essentially, it is small group of women who want to make a change to their employment situation. But in actuality, it is magic!
It all started in 2017, as our first lottery funded project, which we called a pre-start course for unemployed women. Pre-start up was not a term that was used back then, but is much more common now. When I set up my first business in 2010 I was an unemployed single mum and didn’t have a clue what I had to do. When you are wondering about starting a business there are a million questions, and no one to ask.
As we developed our social enterprise, I realised that there are lots of unemployed women who have skills, hopes and dreams but are at risk of being pushed into low paid, insecure work. And I wanted them to know there are other options. Back then it was a 4-session course, and feedback was that just isn’t enough, so we changed it.
We have gone on to run variations of this course for women aged 50 plus, in response to the change in pension age, for refugee women, for unwaged women, and for young women who have left school and are feeling a bit lost
What has been really interesting for us over more recent years, is the mix of women who want to join the course. We now attract unemployed women, women who hate their job as well as women facing redundancy. Women with no qualifications and women with a PhD come together with a shared experience.
I often say most of us, women and men, are all sorts of wonderful shaped pegs who have sadly been rammed into square holes, and try as we might to fit in, in the end it just makes us unhappy, or ill. We have a significant number of women with long-term health conditions, often caused by work, who are getting stuck in the benefits trap, and are fading away, whilst their heart and soul is crying out to be useful and creative, and to be active in society.
So, what is it that we actually do on this short course?
Well, tutors and participants use words like: find a new path, re-connect with our skills and dreams, a space to look at things differently, a chance to re-charge, reset and make a change.
I call it “What Next?”, I call it a supported space to work with your peers to re-connect with your skills and dreams. Women who have been through the course say it gives them permission to go back to what they really love, after years of doing the sensible thing. It’s a guided programme where you get to review you, and look at your options again. That may be joining our start-up course to start a small business, or going back to study, or maybe getting a job in a pub so you can follow your dreams of being a karaoke singer (that is one of my all-time favourites).
It doesn’t matter what you do next, what matters is that you get to see that you have a choice, and that it’s never too late .
We take you through a programme where each week builds on the last, enabling you to re-discover who you are, what you love, what you are good at. We will gently challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone, so you can see what possibilities there are
So who is this for? It is for any woman, whatever her circumstances and background . It is for any woman who feels they want to make a change to how they earn their money. It is a space where you will meet women you may never have had the opportunity to meet. It’s for you if you are unemployed, in work you hate, a carer, have been out of employment for a while, or are facing redundancy. It’s for you if you know that you don’t want to be in the situation you are in for the rest of your working life.
Thank you very much to the Sowing Club…It has been invaluable. I have been seeking direction to move forward and the timing of the course was perfect. It was such a positive and welcoming space. You say you recognise untapped potential in individuals and empower them to step into it … you do. Thank you.
If you think this might be for you, or someone you care about, the next cohort starts on Tuesday 20th September in Lancaster. Sign up here or call Rebecca on 01524 383846 and one of the trainers, Soaad or Nicola, will call you to answer any questions you have, because we know it’s scary to go somewhere new.
It is funded for women in hardship, otherwise we ask for a donation based on your household income. And, we can help with bus fare and child care costs if they are things that stop you coming.
Can’t get to Lancaster? We will run a cohort via zoom after Christmas, email Rebecca@thegrowingclub.co.uk to register your interest.
More information about the course here.