Mentor training

Mentor Training Course for Women Business Owners

The Growing Club CIC is training a second group of mentors to support our start-up group. Mentoring plays an important role in supporting women in business and is recommended as a strategy for supporting recovery and long-term sustainability.

This is a comprehensive training course that will strengthen your leaderships skills, support your CPD and enable you to apply for paid mentoring opportunities.

This is a three-session course, running on Thursday 22nd April, 29th April and 6th May 2021. Sessions will run from 09.30 – 12.30 via Zoom or in Lancaster. You are required to attend all sessions.

Is it for me?

This funded opportunity is for you if you:

  • are a woman running a small business in the Lancaster District
  • have been trading for at least three years
  • can remember how hard the first few years in business can be!
  • want to support a woman starting her own small business 
  • can commit to a face-to-face session an hour a month for three years
  • understand the importance of mentoring as a tool of empowerment

Claire, a previous attendee and Growing Club Mentor, said:

“I found the training really insightful, from active listening skills to techniques of questioning and reflection to help empower fellow women in business to achieve their knowledge and goals. I’ve since gone on to train in coaching, with the mentoring training directly contributing towards my skills and capabilities.

“I love the fact that The Growing Club has such a strong ethic of women-supporting-women, and I’m happy to support a woman in business through her own personal journey.”

Application

The training is free if you commit to working with your mentee for three years. If we have spaces available, we are able to open up this training to others at a cost of £750.

Training will be delivered by Paul Aisthorpe and Nicola Combe. For more information, please email jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk or call 07521 314926. You can download the application form here and return to Jane.

Sooad Patel

The Growing Club Stories: Soaad Patel

Soaad Patel is the owner of Ayesha’s Attire, an independent boutique providing high-quality clothing that helps busy women dress well to feel good. Here she shares her story about how her business started, and how The Growing Club has helped her gain confidence and create solid business foundations. Soaad took part in the 12-month Roots and Shoots course – The Growing Club’s start-up course.

I’m Soaad, and my business is called Ayesha’s Attire. It’s named after my five-year-old daughter. As a single mum, she is my inspiration. What drives me is to give us both a better life. Before having her, I was very into fashion and loved buying clothes. But when I became a single parent I had to rethink my finances. 

So I thought of the concept of buying pieces that I can wear over and over again, which are versatile and can be worn at home, or out with friends and so on. I also heard a lot of other women saying the same thing, so that’s why I started my business to help women buy affordable pieces which will go a long way. My pieces are modern, stylish and require minimal effort, you can dress them up with a belt or a scarf, but you don’t have to. Whether you’re a mum or a busy woman, these pieces help you look good. And when you look good, you feel good, and you have the confidence to tackle the day’s challenges.

Obviously, in this pandemic we’re spending a lot of time at home and want to be comfortable, but if you’re on a Zoom call you also have to be presentable. And this is what my business is all about, providing what women need in their new lifestyle, with high quality pieces you can keep for a long time, which are also comfortable.

I started my business last year before my daughter started school, but as she’s a child with a lot of energy, like most children that age, it was hard to concentrate on the business until she started in reception full time.

One of the reasons I started my own business was because I’ve always been a career-oriented person. I used to have five or six jobs at once, working in schools with children, and I loved it. When I became a mum, I felt like I’d lost that part of me, and I missed working, so I worked in retail for a while, but it didn’t have that problem-solving element which I enjoyed, so when a friend suggested I should start my own business, I started looking for suppliers, and it all went from there. 

Obviously, I didn’t know how to run a business and I knew I needed support so that’s when I found out about The Growing Club. I had a chat with Jane Binnion and found out about all their courses and really liked the community feel of it. I also liked the fact that there are women at all stages in their business involved in The Growing Club, so whatever stage you’re at, people will relate to you and can help you.

My business is still fairly new, but I know a lot more than I did. For example, I didn’t know about getting the foundations of your business in place, and I went 10 steps ahead. But now thanks to The Growing Club, I know how important it is to do the right steps in order to be successful and to have a concrete business.

In 2021 I would like to continue to build up my customer base and grow my mailing list. When we’re allowed, I want to do pop-up shops as well, as they’re a great way to connect with people.

I’d recommend to other women that they get to know the ethos of The Growing Club, because they’re not like other organisations. It’s a community where women often go through the courses and then become involved in delivering them to others. I’m helping to facilitate the Sowing Club, for example, and I know other women have been through courses and gone on to volunteer and work with The Growing Club too, which is fantastic. 

Overall, I’d say the main way that The Growing Club has helped me is with my confidence. I’m much more confident now than I was before I met Jane, and I’m really excited about the future of my business.

You can find Soaad’s website, Ayesha’s Attire, here or connect with her over on Facebook via her business page here.

Wellbeing January

January at The Growing Club: What’s On?

Hello and welcome to 2021! Yes, we are once again encased in COVID-19 impacts, with the UK currently in another lockdown situation.

Fortunately, we’re here for you with Wellbeing January (and beyond)! We’re delighted to have been awarded funding from the fabulous Smallwood Trust. As a result of this, we have a brand-new, sparkly Chief Wellbeing Officer, Sarah Ludford.

Sarah’s been super busy, devising a programme of wellbeing and self-care that’s designed to help you keep buoyant, healthy and present throughout lockdown living. Any of the workshops that are run as Facebook Lives will be available to access again whenever you need them, especially if you can’t tune in at the time they are live.

Have a look below to see what we have planned for you…

6th January 2021 – Facebook Live with Gabi Crossley. Gabi is a fully-qualified pre and post-natal exercise specialist. As The Mindful PT, Gabi works with women to balance all aspects of health and movement with everyday life. Link for the event can be accessed here.

6th January 2021, 10.00 – 11.00 am – Start 2021 feeling calm and positive, with a special mindfulness session with Hazel Hardie. This interactive workshop will include a guided meditation and mindfulness exercise about letting go of your worries and creating a positive vision for your year ahead. This is a Zoom class – link here.

Thursdays 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th of January, 12.30pm – 2.00pm – Weekly Drop-in Sessions. Every Thursday, join us for a relaxed session – grab a brew, talk about your business issues or just join us for connection. All women welcome! We offer good peer support and networking opportunities. Link to each week is here.

12th January 2021The Sowing Club is returning this month. If you are unemployed or on benefits and looking for your “What next?”, please join us on this fully funded course.  There are still places left. Here’s the link to book your place.

13th January 2021 – Facebook Live on abdominal massage with Nicola Garret. Nicola runs Exhale – a wellness studio – focussing on a variety of massages, pregnancy yoga and women’s wellness workshops  

She will be giving a demo on abdominal self-care – a simple self-massage that is deeply relaxing and can help digestive, fertility issues and generally help to boost the immune system. 

*Postponed* 13th January 2021, 10.00-11.30 – Wellbeing Walk: Enjoying the beauty of nature with Alex, who runs a walking tour business, offering guided nature and heritage walks.

We have an incredible natural wonder on our doorstep. Morecambe Bay is the largest intertidal bay in the UK, the second-largest bay in Britain, teeming with wildlife – over 200,000 birds visit over winter and hundreds of seals colonise here to give birth.  

The Bay is also one of the most bio-diverse areas of the country supporting nationally and internationally important species of wildflowers, and woodlands which in turn provide habitats for rare butterflies and red deer.  

Join Alex for a 90 min (socially-distanced) walk, taking in the beautiful scenery of Morecambe Bay, discover some of the amazing nature, connect with others and get some exercise and fresh air.  

13th January 2021, 4pm – a Zoom Game Party with Fiona Frank

Fiona will facilitate three or four Zoom games to play. It will be a lighthearted session, designed to help you have fun and a giggle together. The session will finish with a dance party so wear comfy clothes and clear your floor! Fiona has worked for the last nine years, up till September, as Projects and Outreach Manager for the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities which, since March, meant moving all the organisation’s events online. She’s learned lots about Zoom along the way, and has led and been part of zoom tech teams for national and international conferences and for a music festival over the summer. As part of her Zoom journey she’s learned a few fun games that you can do on Zoom with friends, family, work colleagues and across large groups of people – whether or not you share a language. They’re all light-hearted, don’t need much equipment, and will be handy to brighten up Zoom meetings that you might be running yourselves in the new year. Link for more information here.

20th January 2021, 12pm, – join Jennie for a session of Hormonal Harmony! 

Jennie Edmondson will run a short session of Hormonal Harmony. If you suffer with hot flushes or low energy, she will show you how to work alongside your body to manage hormonal issues. Jennie is ex-military personnel who now works as a coach, specialising in online nutrition, movement and mindset, dedicated to keeping things simple and achievable to guarantee results.

Tuesdays 18th, 25th Jan and February 1st, 10.00 – 11.15am – join Laura Sandham-Smith from The Laura Sandham School of Dance for a jazzy musical theatre workshop!

This fun musical theatre workshop will be based around All That Jazz from the West End musical, Chicago. This dance-style session will work your body without you even realising, because you will be enjoying yourself so much! The routine will be easy to follow and no dance experience is needed. The cost for this course is just £10. Link to follow.

20th January 2021, 3.30pm – 5pm – 6 Essential Ingredients of Emotional Well-being for Building Personal Boundaries with Elaine Remy, Certified Emotional Well-Being Coach.

In this workshop, you will discover 6 Essential Ingredients of Emotional Well-Being for Building Personal Boundaries to prepare you for potentially difficult conversations and one extra ingredient: the cherry on the cake.

20th January 2021, 10.00am – 12.30pm – our January skills workshop is LinkedIn Essentials with Alex Dickson.  Find out how to get the best out of LinkedIn for your small business.

Whatever type of business you are starting, running or expanding, having an engaging and professional LinkedIn profile and using its network is invaluable, and it’s FREE!

In this interactive workshop, Alex will help you get your profile page and your business noticed, and show you how to connect with people, businesses and organisations to help your business grow. Alex Dickson spent four years in the Learning & Development Team at LinkedIn HQ in California and has over 20+ years working in the IT industry around the world. She is now happily back in Morecambe, setting up her own Tour Guide business. You can view her LinkedIn profile here.

Tickets for this workshop are just £10, and as always we have some free places for women in hardship. Contact lisa@thegrowingclub.co.uk.  

27th January 2021, 1pm – 2.30pm – Art For the Heart: A Nurturing Session on Self-Care with Julia Yates from Lancaster Creative Counselling

Join an online art workshop focused on self-care and relaxation. This session is an opportunity to explore simple creative techniques to self-soothe. This includes a guided visualisation to help you tap into your creativity. No talent is required! Please have some paper, felt tips, pencils or paints to hand. This will be a safe and confidential space to focus on you. Link to follow.

This page will be updated with more events and workshops as they are confirmed.

As always, we have some funded places for unwaged or struggling women for any courses that have a cost to them. Please send us a message and let us know if we can help.

Contact us:

07892 712417

admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk

The Women and Enterprise Hub, 6-0-5 Alston House, White Cross, Lancaster, LA1 4XQ

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Sow and Grow…The Sowing Club Course Returns

In collaboration with the European Social Fund and Adult Learning Within Reach, we are pleased to be able to offer places at The Sowing Club – a fully-funded six-week skills training course for women in Lancashire. The course starts on the 12 January 2021 in Morecambe and will run for six Tuesdays.

The Sowing Club is aimed at benefitting women who fit into any of the following categories and are looking for a job, further education or self-employment:

  • in low-paid work
  • facing redundancy
  • in receipt of benefits
  • suffer long-term ill-health
  • a lone parent
  • a carer
  • leaving a domestic violence situation

We run bespoke training sessions in a small and supportive peer group setting. This course covers:

  • confidence building
  • how to maximise your existing skills
  • benefiting from support systems
  • problem-solving
  • how to plan for future opportunities

Here’s some quotes from previous attendees of The Sowing Club:

“A fun filled course that challenges you to think about yourself and focus on what you want to do. A great group of women. Sharing ideas and supporting one another. It has given me the boost I needed to sow my seeds and focus on my branches growing.”

“Life-affirming, exciting, encouraging, challenging personally and the best bit of training and focusing I’ve ever had – and I’ve done a lot of training!”

“Empowering, liberating, informative, friendly – the best decision you will make!”

“This has been an amazing course, I’ve loved it. I didn’t know how to use my ideas. Last week was the start of something for me. I have started business planning! Now I feel really motivated. This course has helped me feel confident, and I’ve discovered I can do anything I want/decide to do. This course is a big opportunity for any woman who needs to discover herself.”

When?

From Tuesday 12th January, running for six Tuesdays.

Where?

Morecambe area – to be confirmed.

Time?

10.00hrs-12.30hrs

COVID-secure

We are constantly monitoring the government COVID-19 guidelines and the safety of course participants and trainers takes priority at all time. Therefore, if the guidelines change, we may delay the start of this course and we will consult with you prior to any decisions on this.

Registration

You can find the link to register for the upcoming course here.

Any other questions?

Contact Jane or Lisa at The Growing Club. Call 01524 383846, text 07892 712417 or email admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk for more information.

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December at The Growing Club: What’s On?

The final month of the year and we’re sure most people are ready to wave bye-bye to 2020 and welcome 2021 in what will hopefully be a better, happier and healthier year for us all.

Here’s our round-up of what’s happening at The Growing Club in December and running into January in the New Year.

Dates for your diary

10th December 2020 – join us online for a Christmas get-together? Let’s spread some seasonal cheer, celebrate friendship and close-off 2020 in style. The Growing Club’s Christmas Party will be on the 10th December. Come in a fancy-pants outfit or your Christmas cosy pyjamas. Bring your choice of festive food and drink, and join us for an afternoon of games, chat and cheer via Zoom. More information here and to book your free ticket, visit this link.

Last year’s Growing Club Christmas Party

17th December 2020 – Women in Business in Lancashire and Cumbria. This Federation of Small Businesses event will be hosted by The Growing Club’s Jane Binnion, focusing on women in business and taking care of our wellbeing. This event will be festive and fun! You can register for a free ticket here (spaces are limited).


12th January 2021 – The Sowing Club returns with new sessions in Morecambe beginning in the New Year. If you are unemployed, unwaged, or on benefits and you’re considering setting up your own business or job seeking in new employment, why not join us on this fully-funded skills training course? Read more and apply here.

20th January 2021 – in conjunction with Lancaster City Council, Scaleability and The Growing Club, the second cohort of our Peer-to-Peer-Mentoring course for women in the Lancaster district starts on the 20th January. If you’ve been in business for three years or more, you are eligible to apply. You can read more on this course and how to apply here.

Early next year, we will be running a second online cohort of Bloom and Grow, our business growth programme. You can read more about the programme here. Please subscribe to our newsletter for the announcement of new dates. 

Other news

Funding grant: we’re delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding from the Francis C Scott Charitable Trust, to run a brand-new pilot programme for unwaged young women in early 2021.

Francis C Scott Charitable Trust

Help us to help others – if you’re doing your Christmas shopping online, you can help to raise funds for The Growing Club by using the Fundraiser app. We’re now registered with easyfundraising, which means you can help us for free. Over 4,000 shops and sites will donate to us when you use easyfundraising to shop with them, with no extra cost to yourself. All you need to do is sign-up and remember to use easyfundraising whenever you shop online. You can find out more and sign-up via this link here.

 

Header photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Jane Binnion

WISE Woman of Lancaster: Jane Binnion!

We’re delighted to announce that our founding director, Jane Binnion, has been nominated for the Women of Inspiration list: The WISE List 2020, where 100 leading women have been nationally recognised for their contribution to UK social enterprise and impact investing during the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with social enterprise publication Pioneers Post and NatWest.

Jane has worked throughout the pandemic, supporting women in business and those who were just starting enterprises when the first UK lockdown occurred. She has prioritised mental and physical wellbeing in the network of women within The Growing Club, formulating a strategy around support and techniques to stay focussed and motivated with peer sessions and one-to-one coaching.

Face-to-face courses were quickly transformed to online experiences and offered wider than the Lancashire venues as previously existed. Weekly virtual drop-in Zoom sessions were used as goal-setting and check-in opportunities. 

Jane said:

“I am delighted to have been nominated for the WISE List, and thrilled to see so many women making an impact in social enterprise settings.

“COVID has been the most challenging situations we have found ourselves in, with the follow-on effects being devastating on so many people’s business and working situations, let alone the health impacts.

“The Growing Club CIC made it a priority to support and assist our network of women however we possibly could, and from the early days of the pandemic sweeping across the country, we discovered that women would be the worst hit on a business level. Our ethos has and always will be, that women need a level playing field in business, more than ever in a COVID and post-COVID economy. The UN3said that the lack of equality between men and women was still imbalanced before the pandemic, but when COVID hit, it was “layered on top of existing inequalities”. 

“Our work at The Growing Club helps us to strive to correct inequality through providing skills and entrepreneurial training, bespoke for women, so that they can thrive and progress sustainably.”

Tim West, founding editor of social enterprise publication, Pioneers Post, said: 

“Social entrepreneurs are by no means the only people who have had to face big pressures and make hard decisions during these unprecedented times – but what stands out in so many of these stories from our WISE network is that while battling to keep their own social enterprises from the jaws of the pandemic, their focus has remained on the mission, and their first thoughts have always been for the people and communities they were set up to serve.

“This year’s WISE Women are clearly showing Covid who’s boss. We’re so pleased that our partners at NatWest Social & Community Capital were keen to highlight these stories through our WISE programme this year, and are overwhelmed by the number of exceptional women who have been nominated.”

Heart of Gold - Zahra Moreea

November at The Growing Club: What’s On?

As the autumn creeps in with its beautiful colours and cooler temperatures, we are now in the second lockdown in the UK, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

However, our work at The Growing Club continues, albeit mostly virtually! You can find all of the workshops and courses that are on offer during November in our quick and handy round-up below.

4th, 11th, 18th & 25th November – The Sowing Club new cohort starts (and runs into December). This is a fully-funded, six-week skills training course for women who are unwaged or deemed to be socially disadvantaged. Read more about the course here.

9th November – Bloom and Grow – the second session of our 12-month business growth and sustainability programme. Find out more about this course, specifically designed for women already running their own business, at this link.

16th & 23th November – The Gratitude Gallery (with dates running into December) with photographer, Ginny Koppenhol. Ginny will facilitate a month-long phone photography gratitude practice, designed as a mood-boosting creative group activity, during these challenging times. 

The course will be weekly online workshops spread over four weeks, where you’ll learn phone photography and editing skills and use these to notice and record the aspects of your daily life that you feel grateful for. 

At the end of the course, Ginny will also create an online gallery of your images to share more widely representing your moments of appreciation, experienced and captured.  There are 10 spaces available 
Sessions are as follows (participants are asked to commit to all four): 1-2.30pm via Zoom. Click this link for more information and booking details.

20th November – Lancashire Women’s Peer Network begins. A funded programme from November to February is designed to provide a safe learning environment with trained facilitators. Women entrepreneurs and senior managers will be able to share the difficult issues their businesses are facing in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Find more information here.

26th November – Federation of Small Businesses, Mindful Management, with Dr Hazel Hardie. This session on Mindful Management will cover the 5 stages of mindful management. You will discover how to support the wellbeing of the people you work with, as well as creating an effective mindfulness practice for yourself. You will also learn about how to use mindfulness to improve your communication and relationships with others. Spaces are limited – to book online, click here.

30th November – Public Speaking Workshop: Find Your Voice, with theatre practitioner and facilitator, Emma Rucastle. The workshop will tackle the public speaking, which can be a worry for many small business owners, especially women, who have to present themselves and their businesses at a range of events – both formal and informal. In this interactive workshop, Emma will guide participants through a range of fun practical exercises, focusing on building confidence and finding your own voice. 10.00 – 12.30pm. Tickets are £10 and you can book online here.

Looking forward to December, there is a workshop is on creating and running effective Facebook adverts.  Love it or hate it, people are using Facebook during this pandemic, because it is convenient for many businesses. If you have products or services to sell you might want to join in. Sarah Tinsley from Tech and Toast is recording a tutorial for you to view and keep. This will be available in the last week of November, with a live Q&A via Zoom on December 2nd. For more information and to book this workshop, please click here.

If you have any questions on any of the above courses or workshops, please drop Jane a message

Women in business

Support for Women-in-Business – in Lancaster, Lancashire & Beyond

Something for every woman-in-business in Lancaster, Lancashire and beyond. Affordable and funded support for you, and your business 

We know this is the hardest of times and so many of us are weary, but if you have started to turn your attention towards your business or employment possibilities again, then we have a huge selection of courses and opportunities coming up this term for you. And while we don’t normally blog about what’s on, we feel that right now, it would be really helpful to bring it all together in one place for a nice, easy read.

So here goes, in date order…

October

We have very carefully started face-to-face delivery again this week, as we ran the first session of the new cohort of our start-up programme. It was equally odd and wonderful to meet together after seven long months of delivering courses via Zoom. 

Growth & Sustainability

While we adapted our work and course to online delivery via Zoom, we saw that women joined us from all over the UK and beyond, so we are still offering online courses. In fact, we are very excited to be offering our popular growth and sustainability programme as an online course for the first time, starting this month. So if you are interested in this course but don’t want to travel to Lancaster, this might be the perfect solution for you. It’s incredibly affordable*, convenient and we have condensed the curriculum into a six-month programme. You can find all of the details and how to book, here

Peer Mentoring

Our Peer Mentoring programme for women running businesses in Lancaster is going so well, we are opening a second cohort on October 14th. This is a fabulous initiative where you train as a mentor – a great life skill – and you also get your own trained mentor for 12-months. Working in partnership with Lancaster City Council on the COVID-19 Recovery & Resilience Initiative, this comprehensive training programme is fully funded for women who have been in business for at least three years. If this interests you, you can apply here.

November

Employment & Enterprise Skills Training

With high rates of unemployment right now, we are pleased to be able to restart our Employment and Enterprise Skills Training courses for women who are unwaged and looking for their ‘What next?’ opportunity.


Working in collaboration with the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), we can offer this fully-funded, small group course to you if you are in Lancashire, deemed to be economically inactive and want support to help you take the next steps. 

The next course is face-to-face, starting on 4th November and is based in Lancaster. You can book your place via this link here

Medium-sized businesses?

We have also been awarded a contract to deliver a brand-new UK government initiative of peer-to-peer action learning for women running businesses or not-for-profits in Lancashire, who, up to the pandemic, had £100k+ turnover. 

This programme consists of 18-hours of action learning plus four-hours of one-to-one coaching. The training is fully-funded and it will run every two weeks, on a Friday morning, starting mid-November. Please note this course is limited to just 10 places. If you would like to apply for a place, please email Jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk for an application form.

In addition, we are running our monthly skills workshops and weekly drop-in sessions via Zoom. Follow our Facebook page to stay up to date

 If you have questions about any of the above, please email jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk

*If you are a woman running a business in Lancashire who wants to join this programme but have a cash-flow problem right now, Boost Lancashire has agreed to pay your fees as a Pay-It Forward grant. That means that you get the support you need now, and when you’re back on your feet, you pay for other women to do the same.