Hannah is the founder of Young Ladies Club which seeks to raise aspirations in disadvantaged young women to achieve their education and career potential by providing mentoring, confidence building activities and career workshops from positive role models.
The organisation has recently expanded its portfolio to six programmes: three learning programmes, an ambassador programme, a mentoring programme and a crime prevention programme. The mentoring programme is aimed at girls aged 12 to 15 in schools. The focus is on trying to help them build up their self-esteem and confidence.
Hannah explains, "If the girls are on the verge of exclusion as well as genuinely come from disadvantaged backgrounds on free school meals, we're trying to push them to get educational attainment and build up their self-esteem and confidence. We use mentors in one-to-one mentoring, because research has shown that if you do mentoring on a one-to-one basis over a long term period, the impact is far greater than if it's just sort of short term. So we have a curriculum that's based around self-esteem and confidence."
To support the girls and young women, the Young Ladies’ Club uses different kinds of strategies including a positive belief systems workshop and a vision board workshop.
Hannah emphasises that the content of their curriculum is tailored to their audience, Black and ethnic minorities, "It's the programme design, like the workshops that we actually have tailored for them. And we make sure that we tailor it for them for their language. So we have workshops on social media pressure, body imaging, and we use the Dove Confidence Kit for that. It’s very thought provoking. We use videos as well to convey our messages, we allow them to do role playing. It is very, very full on in terms of the learning. We give them the chance to learn in different ways, whether it's through videoing, whether it's through a project leader teaching them, whether it's through them doing role plays on themselves, and we incorporate quizzes, we incorporate games, but they're all educational."
For Hannah, as the founder of the Young Ladies’ Club, personal development is key in helping the girls and young women understand themselves better, the challenges they face, and enabling them to find ways of addressing these challenges and moving forward positively and successfully.
She said the knowledge about this subject area came from her own experience as well as in-depth research on challenges that affect girls and young women today, like social media pressure, confidence and self-esteem.
What the Young Ladies’ Club then did, was bring different tools together to help crackdown on the problems.
Hannah adds, "And then obviously, there's an educational problem as well in terms of disadvantaged young people, young women and trying to bridge the gap. And obviously one of the most effective ways is through mentorship. We actually got funded through the mentoring fund, and that's what expanded our knowledge in terms of how mentoring can be used as a way to bridge that gap for those that come from disadvantaged backgrounds. And I've come from a disadvantaged background, I've come from a single parent home, and I had a mentoring intervention at the age of 16. And I saw how that skyrocketed. I mean, I got first class at uni, I wrote a book, it literally skyrocketed me. So I'm literally that person. It's an actual lived experience for me as well. I was that young girl in school as well. I think that my lived experience as a founder is one of the reasons why it's been so easy and seamless to do so many things for our community."
One element in addition to the mentoring programme is that the Young Ladies’ Club also introduces business mentors to the girls and young women, "We bring corporate clients from the outside working world into the school, and then we let the girls go to their head office as well. We did that with Capgemini, their team came in and delivered two workshops. And then the girls went in there for half a day, had lunch, and got certificates. And it was very interesting, because the lady who was the Vice President."
Especially seeing women in leadership positions within these companies inspires the girls and young women that this could be them in future holding such big positions.
The Young Ladies’ Club is keen to focus on businesses related to STEM, "There's a huge gap in terms of women in STEM, so we're trying to also break that glass ceiling as well.” Over time, the Young Ladies’ Club has done work to streamline its services and become more efficient, "In terms of how the mentors learn, that's moved all online and we have pre-recorded training sessions. We now have our workbook, which is digitalised."
The Young Ladies’ Club have ambitious plans for the future, 'It's evolving at a rapid rate. We're adding another two more programmes, our enterprise and mental health programme. And these are just off the back of all the opportunities that have been presented to us. And in the future, we want to go into training in terms of skills. When we started off, we did a lot of stuff around enterprise, and we've always had sold out enterprise events and programmes, which we still do, but it's taking the girls on a further journey in terms of getting a business accreditation, or getting some form of accreditation in the area that you want to excel in. So that's a 5 to 10 year plan. But for now, it's definitely like segmenting all our programmes and ensuring we are impacting our community in the best way possible through those programmes."