Rosa invests in organisations which work with individual women who are struggling with employment, helping women to return to the labour market and find work on a par with their skills. Gender has a massive impact on economic wellbeing, influencing wealth, employment, and access to public goods and services, as well as capital and credit. Women are more likely to live in poverty in the UK than men, so Rosa supports organisations which are actively working to ensure that women stay out of poverty and in employment.
The example below is illustrative of the sorts of projects Rosa has been able to support, giving women a step-up back onto the ladder.
“This programme was an amazing and emotional journey not only for participants, but for our staff. We loved every session and are determined to grow the programme into ongoing projects in different areas of Berkshire. We got a chance to meet wonderful characters from Rosa’s team and it was great to see their passion for helping others.” – Project worker, Mapis
Imagine feeling so lacking in confidence that it affects your employment opportunities; having no idea where to start in getting ready for employment and nowhere to turn for advice. This is the position 44 women from Berkshire found themselves in at the start of July 2014 until, with the help of a grant from Rosa, they had the opportunity to turn their lives around.
The 10 month ‘Turn Your Life Around’ programme was run by Mapis, a Community Interest Company with the goal of creating opportunities for at-risk adults by running courses which increase their self-esteem and employability. Taking a holistic approach to participant’s needs, the programme initially focused on the core issues of employability, social inclusion, tackling eating disorders and increasing confidence. Engaging with over 40 women from BME communities, the course facilitators soon discovered that participants were facing myriad issues which deeply affected their daily lives such as fear of rape, money management, loneliness, low aspirations, lack of physical activities and the need for legal advice.
Rosa’s grant enabled support for women who had fallen through the cracks of conventional support structures. One learner on the programme, Jess*, was registered with multiple statutory agencies, but without communication between agencies there was no joined-up support plan. This resulted in her missing job interviews or forgetting psychotherapy sessions. The personalised support from the programme ensured that Jess and women like her who face multiple risks received appropriate support in moving towards their goals and to a more sustainable future.
Alongside structured learning and sessions focused on skill identification, CV building, healthy eating and personal safety, participants also benefited from being part of a woman-focused peer support group. Every week, the sessions began with an update and success stories such as who had secured employment, who had passed English exams and who gained respect from their partner.
At the end of the course 43% of the women attending had gained employment, with 54% moving into further education. On completion of the project the whole group are now involved in a plan to run an ongoing support group for other hard to reach women who are not accessing any help, providing peer support around issues such as discrimination, social exclusion, violence, eating disorders and self-harming.
*not her real name