The myriad of successes and achievements of women around the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre area are to be celebrated next year at the first-ever Fylde Coast  International Women’s Day Festival at Blackpool 6thForm.

The unique event, as part of the global International Women’s Day, will see more than 350 local businesses and 30 role models, make crucial connections with over 400 young women from across Fylde Coast  High Schools, –  with the aim of spurring them onto success.

Billed as a music festival-style event – six fields, workshops, music and chill out zones – but focussing on social enterprise, well-being, sport, careers, aspiration and innovation, designed to spur on young women, it has already gained the support of Kelly Massey Team GB 4 x 400m Olympic champion and Julie Brotherton STEM Ambassadoras well as local Business women such as Jane Cole, Blackpool Transport, Helen Broughton, Danbro,  Anna Blackburn, Beaverbrooks, Kate Shane, Merlin Entertainment, Paula Davies, Radio Wave and Gemma Walker, Helispeed.

Organiser Deborah Terras, director of The Washington Group, says: “Young women, while gaining better GCSEs, are sadly still not reaching the same levels as young men in the work world.

“We’re addressing lack of self-belief and ambition, lack of opportunity and lack of access to positive role modelsto break down barriers and unify gender equality across our districtto help young women make critical connections that will change their livesand empower them to be what they want to be.”

Deborah adds: “Local businesses and organisations can play a huge part in helping young women in our community to help them unravel their proficiencies, unlock their potential, unleash their opportunity to succeed, whether through delivering a workshop on the day, being a role model, volunteering on the day or sponsoring a local high school.

“It’s a great opportunity for businesses too. They can develop community engagement, enjoy positive encounters with future employees, clients and referral pathways, while at the same time supporting the opportunities for young people in education, enterprise and employment. “

The March 9thevent, which has already garnered support from Wyre Council, Fylde Council, Regenda Housing, Inenco, Atos, Careers Enterprise Company, Business in the Community and Liverpool John Moores University, will give young women the opportunity to take part in interactive workshops, STEM activities, Fairtrade/Ethical sessions, entrepreneurial events, special effect make- up artist taster classes and money management sessions and much more.

The young women will come away with follow-up actions for positive career, education and personal progression and after meeting and researching a local role model, will have the opportunity to research, learn and inspire from them.

Jane Cole, Managing Director, Blackpool Transport, role Model is fully committed to the Festival

“Blackpool Transport are very excited to be involved in the International Women Day Festival. Economic growth is happening all around Blackpool and the Fylde at the moment and this is bringing opportunities for local people to aspire to take on more career opportunities.   I am the only female in the UK who is the MD of a bus and tram operation and I want to encourage and mentor more women into the Transport Sector. The Fylde Coast has a vibrant and diverse culture and this event will showcase to women and young girls how they can be inspired by the acts of courage and determination of local women who have jobs in different industries.”

 Jill Gray, Principle, Blackpool 6thForm, Role Model, highlights why the event is so important

Blackpool Sixth is delighted to be part of the International Women’s Day (IWD) Festival 2019. This event will provide an extremely valuable platform to raise awareness of gender equality, whilst at the same time, celebrating the inspirational achievements of women around the world. We believe that the festival will contribute strongly to the work we do with our students and staff to reinforce our core values, especially the values of respect, inclusion, global citizenship and excellence and high aspirations.”

Gemma Walker Operations Director Helispeed tell us why she agreed to be a role model ‘ I am honoured to be asked to be part of the Internationals Women’s Day Festival and to be a role model for Aspire Academy for a number of reasons firstly to be able to be part of the guidance and success of young people and to be able to have the opportunity to share my experiences in my career so far. Im really excited to share my career story with young people but I am most excited to share my story on self belief and determination and never giving up on what you want and how these attributes have enabled me to be in the position I hold today as Director of Operations for Helispeed. I think the opportunity to share working knowledge, personal stories and my passion for what I do is a great opportunity for myself but mostly for the people I will be a role model for. It is a privilege to be part of the adventure with the International Women’s Day Festival.

Julie Brotherton STEM Ambassador has pledged her time and commitment to the Festival ‘I’m a former student of Blackpool Sixth Form College and have lived in Blackpool all my life, while forging a successful career in IT (in BAE Systems and then in CSC).  A former Chair of CSC’s Women in Leadership in the UK and Ireland, I’m a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and am passionate about helping others to recognise and fulfil their true potential. I’m also a governor at 2 local schools and a STEM Ambassador. This event is a fantastic way that we can demonstrate to girls the variety of career opportunities that are available to them, and I’m looking forward to helping them see how much they can achieve, if they are willing to try.

The event will take place at Blackpool 6thForm on March 9th2019

If you want to know more about the event and want to get involved, please contact The Washington Group (North West) CIC. [email protected]