Investment theme: Building skills and confidence, Improving health and well-being
How has the Women’s Fund for Scotland has helped Women Influencing Change (WIC) ?
With the help of the grant made by the Women’s Fund, Women Influencing Change were able to continue a six week programme called “Reaching High”, which had been running once a week for five years. The programme is aimed at women aged between 24 and 60 years old who are disadvantaged in some way. The majority of the women are long term unemployed; often single parents and many have social and emotional issues that stop them from making the most of life.
Progress made by Women Influencing Change
The Reaching High programme has now been delivered to 200 women. The course has been run in Inverness and other towns within a forty mile radius of Inverness and has had major success. From courses which ran in 2012; 25% moved into jobs, 25% into some form of training and 41% into volunteering opportunities.
After attending a “Reaching High” course in August 2012 one girl secured a job working as a youth worker on a project for Midlothian council and another participant achieved her long term dream to be a cook in a school kitchen. One woman also started her own cleaning business which is proving to be very successful. Another lady who, when she attended the course was living in the Women’s Refuge is now in her own home with her children, has just completed a counselling degree at college. Others have secured jobs, completed training courses and now looking for work.
The course also helped women with emotional issues. With the help of “Reaching High” one woman came to terms with the death of her son and was able to talk about him for the first time in three years. Subsequent to the course we have been informed she now has a part-time job in the local leisure centre and is beginning to rebuild relationships and her family. Following the “Reaching High” courses supported by the Women’s Fund, a contract was secured with Highland Council enabling another six courses to be undertaken.
Due to the success of getting so many participants into employment, WIC has been asked by employability teams in Highland and Argyll & Bute to train their staff so they can deliver the course to their clients. A one day training event took place in Oban earlier this year which was a great success and another has been planned to be delivered in Inverness in June. It is hoped that others will be rolled out in other areas in Scotland during the autumn of this year and spring of next.
A couple of people who took part in “Reaching High” contacted WIC to ask if they could run a programme so WIC are currently looking to see if they could be trained and possibly work with employability teams to deliver the programme.
How Reaching High has helped women
Reaching High has helped women gain confidence, like themselves, find jobs and a brighter future. After being unemployed for a long period, a woman can become lonely and lose practice socialising. Attending this course can help a women gain confidence, meet new people in a comfortable environment whilst taking a step forward back into employment.
“I got offered a permanent position, I am on cloud nine to say the least. I am so happy and I am certain I would not be in the place I am if I had not gone on Reaching High. I thank God every day that you came into my life when I needed it most.”
Reaching High not only helps those who attend but also impacts on the family and friends Once a woman gains her skills and confidence she can pass these on to family members and friends. One lady who found a volunteering position in a local hotel and manage to secure a job position for her partner after he had been out of work for eight years, Three years on and he is still working there. Several women have contacted us since being on the programme to say how they are still reaping the benefits of the course
“The Reaching High Course has changed the lives of many people within the local community. I have seen people with no confidence blossom in to those moving to work! The model that has been developed works and works very well!’- Employability Professional