The Growing Club CIC in Lancaster has announced it has received three years’ core funding grant from the National Lottery’s Reaching Communities programme. This substantial new award will allow The Growing Club, based in Lancaster, to further their reach of women in all stages of business, to offer skills and training.

The National Lottery Community Fund – Reaching Communities – is a programme that benefits long-term projects that work within communities to make positive changes. The programme especially focuses on projects that help people to identify their potential and championing them to reach their goals using strong community relationships and support networks.

The news of the award is timely, with International Women’s Day approaching on 8 March where the campaign theme for 2020 is #EachForEqual. The aim of this year’s theme is to highlight the need for gender equality to help communities and businesses thrive.

New statistics have shown that figures for self-employment have passed the 5 million point. This is attributed to a rise in female self-employment. In the last quarter, 16,000 more women than men become self-employed. The research showed that the number of women in self-employment grew by 57% in the last 10 years compared with 25% among men.

However, the support for women existing or transferring from benefits to work or self-employment is virtually non-existent, with lone parents suffering the most, even those who are employed.

This is where The Growing Club’s work has become transformational, by working with women who are ‘marginalised’. The social enterprise’s mission is to support women in business – particularly women who are side-lined from success by a variety of reasons, including through disabilities, lack of funding, in receipt of benefits or low pay and also, not having the correct support infrastructure to develop a sustainable business.

Elaine, a previous Growing Club graduate, said: “Four years ago, I had it all: good health, a loving family and a successful career. That all changed overnight due to ill health. I was bedridden for months during which I sunk into a deep depression and began to suffer from anxiety. Several operations later, things improved physically, but my confidence had plummeted to rock bottom.

“I had no self-belief, my career was over and I had no direction. That is when I stumbled upon and signed up for a six-week course with The Growing Club. That course changed my life. The women at the Growing Club shined their light on what could be. They gave me the confidence to dare explore what it was I really wanted to do.

“Consequently I am now training to become a Counsellor and intend to start my own mindfulness business to help women through their own difficult times.”

The founding director of The Growing Club, Jane Binnion, said:

“We are incredibly excited to have been awarded three years of core funding from the Reaching Communities programme.

“Our organisation has spent the last three years running on short-term project funding, meaning that we were only ever able plan for one year at a time, which isn’t ideal. Now we have been lucky enough to secure the funding award, our plans can be bigger and bolder, helping more women in already in business and those who are considering setting up their own business.

“The funding will mean that we can concentrate on future-proofing our organisation allowing us to improve sustainability and development outcomes.”

For all enquiries, please contact Jane or Lisa at The Growing Club CIC, 01524 383846, text 07892 712417 or email admin@thegrowingclub.co.uk

Boost will be attending International Women’s Day Lancashire and WomanKind North in support of International Women’s Day 2020.

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