A social enterprise – Girls Out Loud – founded 15 years ago to ‘empower and inspire’ teenage girls in Manchester is now expanding into Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports
A social enterprise set up to “empower and inspire” teenage girls is coming to Liverpool for the first time.
Award-winning Girls Out Loud was established in Manchester in 2009 by entrepreneur, campaigner and female champion, Jane Kenyon, in 2009. It has engaged with more than 25,000 girls in over 70 schools using its mentoring programmes.
This week Girls Out Loud launched its mentoring programme at St Julie’s Catholic High School in Liverpool. It held a Role Model Relay, a high-energy, speed mentoring session for 160 Year 8 girls aged 12 to 13.
That will be followed by Liverpool’s first Big Sister programme at St Julie’s, harnessing the wisdom of 20 female volunteer role models, with Big Sisters mentoring a Little Sister over 12 months.
Meeting once a month in a structured and supportive school environment, one which is non-judgemental and honest, allows each big sister to share inspirational life stories and empower little sisters to find their own voice.
Girls Out Loud alumni Gina Armstrong, who completed the intensive Stardom programme for ‘at risk’ girls in 2009, was a guest speaker at the event.
This Role Model Relay was also attended by female professionals from Liverpool, including entrepreneurs, business women, public sector, retail and beyond.
They included HR and employment law specialist Ije McDougall, Seddon Construction’s bid submissions coordinator Alison Steadman and pladis Global’s HR business partner Amy George.
North West businesswoman Karen Turton, founder of performance consultancy The Purple Story, and popular Merseyside singer Caroline England also spoke at the event.
Jane Kenyon said: “We’re unwavering in our goal to support and nurture the young girls at St Julie’s Catholic High School, guiding them to reach their true potential and shine.
“There are shocking stats surrounding the landscape that young girls are attempting to navigate. This year is the first time girls have overtaken boys in school exclusions.
“One in three girls state the “hate” their body as a direct result of Instagram, an 80% increase in online grooming cases in the last four years. All of these issues can disrupt their self-belief and aspirations, which we shouldn’t stand for.
““With our much-needed intervention programmes for teenage girls, we’re determined to empower the next generation of women and prove that anything is possible.
“We introduce the young girls to a diverse range of female role models who can share their wisdom and experiences, helping them to harness their potential.
Kate McCourt, acting headteacher at St Julie’s, added: “We’re confident that Girls Out Loud’s Role Model Relay and the Big Sister programme will be invaluable.
“They will provide our students with guidance from female role models, helping them deal with the daily pressures they face where they perhaps don’t want to confide in a teacher or one of their peers.
Click here for more information about the programme.