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Case Study: Jackie Bennett Shaw

Jackie Bennett Shaw owns and runs a public relations consultancy in Lancaster called Marzipan PR, and has done since 2017.

Jackie took part in our project, where local, established women in business are trained to support and mentor other women who are running a business, in a non-hierarchical mentor relationship.

This was a fully funded project by Lancaster City Council, as part of the recovery and resilience strategy, and was a brand-new initiative in the region.

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Case Study: Nikki Cookson

Nikki Cookson is the owner of Woodcroft Crafts. She shares her story about how her business started, and how The Growing Club CIC has helped her gain confidence with her business through peer support and a strong network of women in business. Nikki is currently on the Bloom and Grow online training course, on a Pay It Forward grant, funded by Boost: Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. The course helps women to develop and grow sustainable businesses.

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Young Women Branching Out

Our latest course, Branching Out, will help unwaged young women to explore skills and training options available to them. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted young women particularly hard, resulting in reduced employment and future job opportunities.

Young Women Hit Hardest in COVID-19 Pandemic

Young Women’s Trust and Women’s Budget Group published a policy briefing in November 2020. They talked about how, even prior the Coronavirus pandemic, young women faced employment disadvantages, discrimination and sexual harassment. The pandemic dented young women’s employment the hardest, with a third of all young women holding employment in sectors like hospitality, leisure and tourism. Such sectors have effectively been shut down in the wake of COVID-19.

This has led to an ongoing mental health crisis, financial hardship and a bleak outlook for the recovery of vulnerable groups in society like young women. In October 2020, an estimated 1.5 million young women suffered a reduction on income since the the pandemic began. Because of this, approximately 750,000 young women having been made to go to work, despite concerns about health and safety.

Branching Out

Starting on May 6 2021, The Growing Club CIC is running an 18-hour, fully-funded course for unwaged young women aged 19-24. Branching Out is a course funded by the Frances C Scott Charitable Trust. The course will run in Lancaster and will help young women to: build on their skills, explore opportunities available to them, develop confidence and communication skills, employment and self-employment skills, network building, how to prepare a CV and develop job application and interview skills.

Attendees will be allocated a mentor to help them for 12 months, to stay supported and on-track.

Our director, Jane Binnion, said: 

“The pandemic has led us to move work with young women higher up our list of priorities, as they have been so severely impacted – emotionally and financially – with many seeing their future as quite bleak. I have a young daughter myself and have witnessed first-hand the struggles to find work, pay rent and stay buoyant. We are so pleased to have received this funding which enables us to support local young women.”

To book a place on Branching Out, visit Eventbrite or for more details, please contact jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk

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Women & Money: Exploring Savings & Investments for Beginners

We have an excellent event coming up this month, led by money experts Cleona Lira and Rebecca O’Connor. They’ll be talking about financial investments that aren’t just for the rich.

Worries about money and financial independence affect most women. And with the change of the pension age many women are now also worried about how they will manage financially as they get older.

When many of us think of investments we think of stocks and shares and it can feel confusing and nothing to do with us. But making good decisions about our money is important, whatever our income.

Workshop aims

This workshop is suited to a beginner level, for those with a smaller investment potential and curious. You can start investing with as little as £50 per month in an investment, or £25 per month in a pension. The information will be more suited to a UK audience however general principles of investing will also be covered.

The session will be interactive and fun, with small breakout groups and invitations to post questions.

By the end of the session, you will leave feeling confident about getting started with investing and taking some action.

The session will to cover:

· Why invest?

· Common investor self-sabotaging behaviours

· What are wrappers? ISAs v/s pensions

· What are shares and bonds?

. Sustainable Investment

· How can I get started? What are the differences between active/passive/ethical/impact investment funds?

Q&A section – ask anything about investing. We will aim to answer as many questions as possible, but we request please that you write a concise, clear question that you can post in the chat when asked. If your question is difficult to understand, it may not get picked up to be answered.

Disclaimer: It will not be possible to provide any kind of personalised, individual advice in this workshop. The information provided is for informational purposes only and cannot be considered as financial advice. We have 50 tickets available and registrations will close by 5 pm on the 18th of April. Please book as soon as possible to ensure your place.

Ticket prices

We have some funding for this event, however, it does not cover all our costs. We need financial support which enables us to help more women.

So, if you are able to live comfortably, then please consider investing in yourself and in other women by choosing the higher ticket price. Tickets are £30 and £50.

Book your ticket here.

As always, we have some free places for women in hardship – contact lisa@thegrowingclub.co.uk to book a free place.

Income from this event will go towards supporting the work of The Growing Club. The Growing Club CIC is a not-for-profit organisation. We provide a range of skills training and opportunities for women, using a creative and alternative peer-support model.

Cleona Lira

Cleona is an Independent Financial Adviser, based in London and has been working to help people with their financial goals since 2001.

Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Cleona is a Chartered Financial Planner and a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute. She is also a sustainable investing specialist.

Becky O’Connor

Becky is Head of Pensions & Savings at interactive investor, the DIY investment platform, and co-founder of Good With Money, the ethical personal finance website. She spent eight years as a journalist at The Times covering personal finance and business and three years as communications director of a renewable energy crowdfunding platform.

Becky is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of her work in raising the profile of ethical personal finance and a trustee of UK Mortgage Prisoners, the charity campaigning on behalf of mortgage prisoners.