Thank you to Stacey Wagstaff, the Girls Network North East Manager, for joining us last week to start off our summer events.
The Girls Network is a national charity, operating in eight regions across the country with a mission to “inspire and empower” girls aged 14-19 by connecting them with hand-picked mentors in a variety of career paths.
The mentoring programme is designed to respond to the systemic social and educational failings for teenaged girls, particularly those coming from poorer homes.
To illustrate the difficulties faced by teenaged girls today, Stacey shared with us a video of girls sharing their concerns.
As shown in the video, the pressures from social media, bullying, body image, pornography, and exams are immense. This is compounded by educational difficulties and worries about the future: at sixteen 50% of girls from the poorest houses get no GCSE passes; less than 6% make it into higher education; and only 2% reach the most selective universities.
As Stacey explained, many of these girls had high aspirations, but didn’t believe they could actually achieve them.
Here is where the mentorship programme is designed to intervene.
The programme connects women from a variety of professional and life-experience backgrounds with girls for a series of one-to-one mentoring sessions delivered over the course of a year.
The aim is to be an ally for teenage girls, offering them experience, confidence building, support networks, and a space to think about their future.
Beyond this, the Girls Network offers workshops and work experience placements, and the girls who participate have lifelong access to their Ambassador programme, providing them with long-term support.
The programme clearly has a big impact on mentees. Of the over one thousand girls mentored each year 96% reported improvements in their confidence, and 98% said they felt more positive about their future.
If you’re interested in becoming a mentor for the Girls Network, please apply at https://www.thegirlsnetwork.org.uk/become-a-mentor
There’s online training sessions coming up over the summer months, with mentor-mentee matchmaking events in the next school year. Participating in the programme requires a commitment of 2-3 hours a month.
If you want to get involved by fundraising, offering work experience placements, or delivering workshops – get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org