As we come to the end of the year, our Interim Chief Executive, Abi Shapiro reflects on the successes that have been achieved at Young Women’s Trust in 2021.
As we reach the end of another challenging year, at Young Women’s Trust we look back with mixed feelings. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved and the 1000s of young women we have worked with. But it is also glaringly obvious how much more there still is to do until young women genuinely have equal economic and employment opportunities.
Launch of the Research Centre
Our Research Centre was launched earlier this year, offering training and support to young women to conduct research amongst their peer groups.
Our recent report One Size Fits No One explores the experiences of young women navigating unemployment and the benefits system. Our survey of 1000 young women which was combined with interviews and focus groups was carried out by the peer researchers. They found that young women are struggling financially and with their mental health.
A lot of young women have caring responsibilities, and there’s all the unpaid labour that women do. They’re expecting us to stick to 9 to 5 hours, that’s just not possible for a lot of people. There’s an expectation that young women can do the same as everybody else, with no acknowledgement of how our situations are very different.
Increasing investment in young women
Our research findings have helped shape the priorities across Young Women’s Trust over the last year, and we have increased investment in our services and influencing work.
The Emergency Fund launched during the pandemic gave out £335k to young women to support with buying food and essential items for them and their families.
For me and a lot of the girls it was life changing. I know for some people £150 doesn’t sound like a lot but when you didn’t have it and you’re sat there on the floor thinking what am I gonna do about this that and the other, and then an organisation is generous enough to provide the support when you really need it, it truly makes a difference.
Work It Out record success
The Work It Out coaching and CV feedback service has had a record 12 months, with 4500 young women signing up for support.
Our professional coaches receive consistently fantastic feedback.
Sam has truly made me feel not just proud to be who I am but also proud that our paths have crossed. He has helped me to believe in myself, to know my worth, and to feel confident about as well as look forward to my future. I am forever grateful for the Young Woman’s Trust as well as the incredible person that is Sam, whose skills and warmth make the world a better place. Thank you!
Delivering services during lockdown
Our online activity has continued to grow, with a host of events taking place for young women across the year. These activities include
- Training sessions
- Paid opportunities
- Networking events
Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, our Participation team have continued lively engagement with young women through online residentials and events throughout the year.
We have also continued to provide digital devices and data to young women where required. This has helped to ensure that peer researchers and Advisory Panel members can continue to engage with our programme.
… I cannot express enough how accommodating and educational the session was. We learnt so many interesting factors towards addressing how to gain confidence and how to approach interviews. It’s inspired me to join as a media volunteer.
Supporting young women to speak truth to power
Our influencing work has also continued to have a meaningful impact. This year we have had
- Record engagement with our #NoYoungWomanLeftBehind campaign
- Multiple mentions in Parliament
- An opportunity for young women to meet with the former Health Secretary Matt Hancock to give evidence on the Women’s Health Strategy
Our social media profile continues to grow, as do the number of mentions in national media. This year we saw young women appearing in most mainstream print publications as well as appearances on ITV news, BBC World and Radio 5.
Looking forward to 2022
As we near the start of the 2022, we are excited to welcome Young Women’s Trust’s new Chief Executive Officer. Claire Reindorp has more than 25 years’ experience working for organisations tackling inequality. Claire will lead Young Women’s Trust into its next chapter, identifying how we can build on our excellent current activity to have even more impact on the lives of young women.
As ever, our work would not be possible without
- The generous donations of all our supporters
- Our dedicated teams of coaches and volunteers
- Our hardworking and capable staff team
- Our committed Board of Trustees
We could not continue to have an impact without the ongoing engagement of so many passionate, articulate and talented young women. In 2021 young women have demonstrated determination, resilience and optimism, and continued to offer support and advice to their peers. This inspirational sense of community gives a sense of hope for the future, and the impact we can have on the lives of young women, if we continue to work in a collaborative and supportive way.
Don’t give up on your dreams, keep trying and don’t let others put you down. Be yourself and be proud of who you are, as you can do anything you put your mind to.
If you would like to support our work to help young women achieve economic justice in 2022, then you can donate to help our work.
Your generosity could help a young woman see her strengths, rebuild her confidence and work out a plan for the future.