On the 7th March 2020, The Washington Group, Community Interest Company, held
the 2 nd International Women Day Festival, on the Fylde Coast, at Blackpool 6 th Form
Over 600 people attended the Festival with 26 local role models, 80 volunteers from
business and Blackpool 6th students, with 50 different interactive workshops
delivered by businesses from across the Fylde Coast for young women to take part
This year the Festival invited all the High Schools from across the Fylde Coast and
six primary schools. The Festival had five themed areas, each providing interactive
workshops and activities delivered by local, regional and national businesses and
organisations including Cosmetic Chemistry, lazer shooting, careers at BAE,
climbing walls, special effects make up, resilience strategies and CSI detective
activities. Each workshop enabled young women to try our new experiences and
develop further knowledge in career and personal goals.
The Festival was funded by Lancashire Foundation Tampon tax, Carriers for
Causes, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, Blackpool Transport, Wyre
Council, Fylde Council and Lancashire Council.
Each school, was sponsored to attend the event by a local Businesses, including
Builders Supplies, Blackpool Skip Hire, Sandcastle Waterpark, Beaverbrook’s,
JTBryne Funeral Directors, Danbro, Adcroft Hilton and many more local businesses
from across The Fylde Coast.
Every school was assigned a local Role Model, a woman who was either born on the
Fylde Coast or lived on the Fylde Coast. The school researched the role model and
produced a ‘living library’ of her journey, including career and personal
Role models ranged from Jane Cole, Blackpool transport to Lynn Saggerson
Blackpool Wyre and Fylde Volunteer Centre, Gemma Walker Helispeed to Laura
Lawler, Lancashire Police.
The Festival was fully supported by The Responsible Business Network, Blackpool
pride of Place, Wyre and Fylde Business Networks and Dame Julia Cleverdon.
What difference will it
make to Young Women?
The International Women’s Day Festival supports the development of female social
mobility and social action, by enabling young women, to have relaxed conversations,
with role models and business across the sector and engaging in small interactive
workshops that will stretch their learning and personal development. The Festival
enabled a platform for young women to have their voices and stories heard.
Co-organiser Deborah Terras, Director of The Washington Group, says:
“Blackpool, in a recent survey, was identified, as the toughest place for young
women to live. The Festival addressed this and celebrated the amazing
opportunities for young women on the Fylde Coast. The Festival brought
together a collective of businesses, schools and community organisations to
work alongside young people to challenge equality and facilitate opportunities
for Young women.
“We’re addressing ambition, opportunity and highlighting the amazing positive
role models, breaking down barriers and unify gender equality
Deborah adds: “Local businesses and organisations 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 school.
“It’s a great opportunity for businesses too. They can develop community
engagement; enjoy positive encounters with future employees, develop key
links to clients and referral pathways, while at the same time supporting the
opportunities for young women in education, enterprise and employment. “
The Festival was so much more than careers advice, it’s impact will result in young
women having a more positive and informed attitude when making key choices in
their academic, learning, career and personal life choices. The Festival enabled
young women to take their feet off the sticky floor to embrace and breakthrough the
glass ceiling. It’s not just about young women gaining better GCSE’s, this is just a
‘one time limited measurement’ and does not reflect the true social mobility of young
women across the Fylde Coast. The GCSE’s results do not support the destination
of young women, therefore there is a need to address this gap.