#IWD2019 Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019
- The GRoW Programme helps to improve the employability skills and prospects of women who are furthest from the labour market.
- 70% of the women we support are from BAME communities
- Over half are Lone Parents and a third have children with special needs.
- They can and want to work but face real practical barriers.
GRoW helps to make work a reality for women who are furthest from the labour market. Most of the women GRoW support face a range of challenges that vary from a lack of basic English language skills, being lone parents with limited or no support to having children with additional needs. A large proportion are domestic abuse survivors or live in controlling and coercing relationships. Many of the women have negative experiences of school, have never worked before or not for a very long time.
Our specialist team work closely with the women to help them identify what they really enjoy about their current lives and what they want to change. It helps them to challenge their perceptions of the barriers and encourages them to take small steps back to work. We help them understand the positive and long-term social, emotional and financial impacts that work can provide to them, their children and their families.
We provide opportunities for women to come together in one space where they can create cross-cultural friendships and build a support network so they can gain strength from each other. Our partners help them to access direct support and we work with employers to give them practical advice about what is available in the workplace. We raise client’s hopes and aspirations, inspiring them to develop their employability skills and the tools they need to begin a pathway to sustainable work.
We have a specific approach to support mums of children who are on the Autistic Spectrum. Only 11% of parents with autistic children are able to work full-time and 70% of parents say that they don’t have enough support to be able to work as much as they need to.
GRoW participant Kelly who we helped get a job said “You can feel quite lonely, especially as a single mum, when you have a child with autism. I can sometimes feel I am judged by other people when I’m out and about with my son and that people just don’t understand the challenges parents like myself face every day. With both my children at school I was starting to feel a little depressed and even though I wanted to work, I was concerned about how I could find a suitable position with the need to attend frequent medical appointments. The GRoW Programme’s ASD session really helped me. The session was held at Hillingdon’s Botwell Green Library and it was a group session where I could meet other mums like me. It was so good to just be able to relax around other people who were going through the same experiences as I was.”
Belina Grow Partner Hannah Woods, Head of Evaluation and Learning, Gingerbread said “We have worked directly with Belina Grow to provide training to single parents who require additional training and support to build their financial capability and prepare them for their transition to Universal Credit. Belina Grow have been a responsive and proactive partner for Gingerbread.
“They have helped us to reach single parents most in need of support and build a shared network of support for these parents. They have also been willing to engage in our pilot programme and provide vital feedback to ensure we tailor our training and support to meet their parents needs. They reach single parents with complex needs and support requirements and provide holistic support for their journey to employment.”
Rosemarie Alphonse, Children’s Centre Locality Lead, Yeading and Hayes Park Locality Hillingdon said “GRoW has given the mothers a purpose in their future and what they want to achieve in their lives.
“In 5 weeks it’s amazing to know that parents who didn’t have a purpose in life now see a way out of their current situation. This may be families who are trying to leave a controlling relationship but have no money and are unable to manage without their husband’s support.
The GROW project team have given new hope to mothers like this and empowered them to see a way out of their current situations.
“Parents have also gone onto further education, volunteering and work to give their families a better start in life and contribute to the family and their community. They beam with pride of the feeling they have the plans they now have in place and the encouragement to do more with their future.
“Thank you GRoW Project; Parents have reported that they love coming to the session and can’t wait for the next week to come. Their confidence has grown and they feel inspired by you.”