25 June 2020
“The most amazing thing that I’ve seen through EmpowHER is that the young women don’t realise the significance of sisterhood until they’re in it, and then by the end they do! And the love they have for each other at the end is phenomenal!” – Youth Worker, Coventry
At UK Youth, we strive to ensure that young people are equipped to thrive and empowered to contribute as every stage of their lives. We understand that poor wellbeing is a pressing issue for young people and one of the ways we provide support is through our wellbeing programme called EmpowHER, created to address the worrying low levels of wellbeing amongst young women and girls in the UK.
To celebrate World Wellbeing Week, we want to shine a light on how the EmpowHER programme improves the wellbeing of young women and girls across the UK through self-esteem building, social learning and providing the young women and girls with inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities to inspire them to lead change in their communities. Through their social learning the young women and girls learn about empowerment, resilience and rights covering topics including; inspirational women and role models, politics, feminism, body image and positivity, mental health and wellbeing, and healthy relationships. This combination of action and learning has created incredible impact for the young women and girls with statistically significant increases across their wellbeing, confidence, and life satisfaction, and decreases in limiting perceptions, both of themselves and their gender as detailed in our recent report.
EmpowHER drives the levels of wellbeing of participants closer to the national average by providing young women and girls tools to manage their wellbeing and worries. After participating in a recent virtual ‘Be Your Best Self’ leadership workshop led by our partner Young Women’s Trust, one girl stated she learned “How to take care of (her)self if (she’s) down” and another stated she will “believe in (her)self-more”. With the unique combination of small, single-gender groups and the guidance of a trusted adult, their youth worker, EmpowHER creates a safe space for young women and girls for the duration of the 12-week delivery model, facilitating a strong support network.
100% of young people surveyed by Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health stated that having places to go and things to do keeps them happy and well. During the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown and closures of youth clubs, young people have been reporting lower levels of wellbeing than usual, particularly young women and girls, emphasising the value of youth clubs, and youth-led programmes such as EmpowHER.
This World Wellbeing Week, the EmpowHER team want to celebrate the achievements of the young women and girls and their youth workers. The girls thus far have completed 129 social action projects, reaching thousands of community members and making positive changes in their communities on issues they care about, while also improving their personal wellbeing and confidence. As one EmpowHER girl says, “EmpowHER made me feel confident and step outside of my comfort zone. At first I was a bit shy, but now I know that I can do anything.” This demonstrates that EmpowHER is not just about making an impact for the duration of the programme, but also creating lasting change, supporting young women and girls to realise the value they offer in making a positive difference and leading change where they live. We want to thank not only the young women and girls but also recognise the hard work of our youth organisations, youth workers, partners and funders, without whom this programme wouldn’t be possible!
Launched to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, EmpowHER encourages young women and girls to use their voices for positive change –just as their predecessors did 100 years ago. Led by UK Youth in partnership with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust, EmpowHER is a three-and-a-half-year programme funded by Spirit of 2012 and the #iwill Fund.
The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £25 million seed funding to create the #iwill Fund. Spirit of 2012 is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iwill Fund.
From across the UK, fourteen youth organisations have been trained to deliver EmpowHER and over 900 young women and girls have completed the programme.