The Girls’ Network supports girls aged 14 – 19 years by connecting them to a mentor and a network of professional female role models, and by arranging events and activities to help the girls become confident, resilient and ambitious.
As part of one of their programmes recently funded by the Foundation, a specially appointed Networks Manager worked alongside local secondary schools to help with the selection and preparation of the girls joining the programme. The Network Manager was also in charge of recruiting and training the female volunteers/mentors joining from a variety of professional backgrounds; this process ensured that the girls had a diverse pool of female role models to be inspired from. The mentors were equipped with the skills and confidence to work with teenage girls, and were also given comprehensive safeguarding training.
During the programme, mentors and mentees met and worked together regularly. The girls also attended two workshops with topics such as “The Entrepreneurial Mindset” and “Confidence Building”. The workshops were vital in giving the girls a sense of fulfilment and excitement about their futures.
Overall, between 2021 and 2022, The Girls’ Network worked with 75 girls across schools in the Brighton & Hove and Eastbourne areas.
One of the recent stories shared by the group was about Isabel. She joined the mentoring programme with low confidence and self-esteem, found it hard to identify her own skills and strengths, and was afraid to speak up in class for fear of getting things wrong and looking silly. In the early sessions with her mentor, they talked a lot about her aspirations to go to university and have more confidence meeting new people and learning about new topics in class.
Together they worked on overcoming the underlying barriers to her plans and aspirations. Isabel started by challenging herself to ask more questions in class and then using her mentoring time to practise her presentation skills.
By the end of the programme, Isabel had put herself forward for more roles in school and did a presentation to 25 people. Both Isabel and her mentor agree that her confidence had grown significantly, and she felt surer about herself and what she wants for the future.