Boost to female empowerment: UK Youth’s EmpowHER programme extended

7 January 2020

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UK Youth are delighted to announce extension funding for their EmpowHER programme has been granted by joint funders Spirit of 2012 and the #iwill Fund.

The new funding of £600,000 is in addition to the initial £1.8 million grant. The extension funding will allow UK Youth and programme partners, the British Red Cross and Young Woman’s Trust, to expand the programme in the East of England, enabling the programme to reach more than 2,000 young woman and girls over 3 and a half years.

EmpowHER is a social action programme established to increase self-esteem, build confidence and wellbeing in young women and girls and ultimately inspire them to lead change in their communities through inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities. The programme addresses the worryingly low levels of wellbeing amongst young women and girls in the UK and supports them to have a voice, be heard and give back to their local communities.

Launched in October 2018, to celebrate the centenary of woman’s suffrage and give a new generation the opportunity to be heard, the programme supports young women and girls age 10-20 in some of the country’s most deprived and disadvantaged areas.  

Over the last 18-months, the programme has directly helped challenge limiting perceptions that young women and girls might have of themselves and wider society, built capacity for participants to lead change, helped form longer-term social action habits and improved social cohesion. One participant talks about how the programme has changed the way she sees herself and others, “Coming to this group I’ve realised that people are all the same. Yeah, we have our flaws but that shouldn’t change how we think of ourselves. Our confidence has gone up.”

EmpowHER is delivered through face-to-face activity sessions with young women and girls through our delivery partners; a network of youth organisations. The sessions focus on themes of individuals’ rights, empowerment and resilience, as well as activities exploring inspirational women in history.

Maddie Dinwoodie, Deputy CEO of UK Youth said, “I am thrilled that EmpowHER can continue reaching those who need it most. The feedback we’ve had from participants so far has been utterly inspiring. This extension funding means that not only can the programme reach further and wider, but also allows us and our delivery partners to focus on building sustainability into the programme so it can embed real social change.

We we will use the learnings from EmpowHER to establish best practise for the sector around improving wellbeing of young women and girls who face various barriers and the importance of engaging them in meaningful social action.”

Michael Adamson, CEO at British Red Cross said, “I am delighted that the partnership between the British Red Cross, UK Youth and the Young Women’s Trust has been extended to ensure EmpowHER can be delivered to more young women and girls in England. Young women and girls will continue to benefit from dedicated single gender spaces and build lifelong volunteering habits. In the first year of the EmpowHER programme, it has been fantastic to hear how EmpowHER participants are connecting human crisis with human kindness alongside Red Cross services. These young women and girls are an inspiration to us all, leading change in their communities through innovative and meaningful social action.”

Ruth Hollis, CEO of Spirit of 2012 said “We’re delighted that our Board has awarded UK Youth a further £300,000 alongside £300,000 from the #iwill Fund to extend the delivery reach and timeline of EmpowHER.  UK Youth’s drive to make a difference to young women and girls and whole communities chimes with our own funding mission, and we’re really excited to extend the learning and impact.  To date, the programme champions genuine inclusion and breaks down barriers to engagement to overcome low levels of wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence through the power of youth social action.   We look forward to working with UK Youth and the network of partners to see the transformational difference EmpowHER can make.” 

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