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.”

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