The ‘Stronger Together’ event brought together pupils from 12 schools in North Tyneside to hear from passionate speakers, charities, and organisations in a bid to support girls as they approach the end of their secondary school education.
During the powerful all-female event, the girls joined talks on a range of topics including misogyny, stress, entrepreneurialism, relationships, friendships and the impact of social media.
The speakers included Rie Pearson, a retired police officer and specialist in intimate partner abuse, Harriet Yudkin, a sexual health and relationships specialist and Bethany McMenamin from Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland.
They heard from inspirational guest speaker and award-winning business woman Alice Rowen, the CEO of Rowen Homes, who spoke about how she overcame challenges to set up her successful home interiors business.
During lunch, the girls were joined by the all-female RNLI lifeboat crew based in Cullercoats, volunteers from Samantha’s Legacy, a local knife crime charity, and Street Pastors, The Queen’s last (female) Fifth Fusilier, Streetwise, WorkieTicket Theatre, Women In Construction and Brick-House Media amongst others.
Almost 20 charities and organisations supported the day, to showcase the wide range of support and opportunities available to young women today.
The empowerment didn’t stop there. While the morning was filled with talks about the problems and difficulties girls and women face, the afternoon looked at what girls can do about the challenges by coming together.
A thought-provoking activity run by Northumbria University saw the schools create a manifesto for change. Looking at how they can make the change they want to see in their school, the girls designed their manifestos that will encourage girls and their schools to embrace positive change.
Sue Davison, event organiser from Foundation Futures, said: “The event was a direct response to the issues girls reported during our ThisLife in-school support programme.
“They had a fantastic day, seeing them work together and mix with inspirational women was wonderful. We hope that the legacy work following this event will make a real change to their lives and that this conference will become an annual event.”
Cllr Steven Phillips, Cabinet Member for Inclusion, Employment and Skills at North Tyneside Council, said: “We’re extremely proud to have supported Foundation Futures to host its first ever event of this type in North Tyneside.
“Girls can face many challenges as they move through education and form their own lives, relationships, friendships and aspirations and this event was a fantastic way to address issues that they may face and give them the knowledge and support to confidently identify and challenge any issues they face.
“It was a day filled with truly inspirational, strong women and I hope that those in attendance have walked away from the day feeling empowered and excited about their futures.”
The event was funded by North Tyneside Council, LGA Foundation, Sir James Knott Trust, and Badur Foundation.
Around 120 girls and teachers were in attendance on the day and everyone left with a ‘Stronger Together’ t-shirt, journal and postcard.
/ Related news
New project uses bread baking to connect with disadvantaged communities
Breaking bread has long been used to forge links with one another…and now a project at Teesside University is using baking to connect people from diverse backgrounds.