In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, our Digital Communications Officer, Aymie Black, headed out to the West End of Glasgow to visit MsMissMrs – a social enterprise empowering women from a variety of backgrounds.
It was a cold and wet Wednesday afternoon when I first walked into the colourful and cosy haven of MsMissMrs. From its open space and big windows to its lovingly chosen scatter cushions and beanbags; I soon realised that this was no ordinary space – this was a sanctuary.
Louise, the operations manager of MsMissMrs, cheerfully welcomed me in and I complimented her on how lovely she keeps the hub. She responded that she ‘would like everyone to have somewhere that makes them feel special’. The space – and the organisation for that matter – is summed up in that one word: special. Testament to this, when MsMissMrs is brought up in conversation, people animatedly recount their ‘Empowerment Pants’; the organisation’s boldly designed undies for ladies, to help raise funds to support their work.
MsMissMrs received a National Lottery grant in 2017 to fund their Get S.E.T (Self Empowerment Training) programme for women and girls who have experienced a difficult life journey, as a result of poverty, addiction, abuse, homelessness or poor mental health.
As Louise and I sat down she told me more about the programme which offers practical strategies and life-enhancing tools for women and girls from a variety of backgrounds. This includes a bespoke training package – consisting of a Self-Empowerment programme for girls aged 10-18 and a self-care plan for women who are rebuilding self-esteem and wellbeing. What’s extraordinary about the programme is that it takes place in the uplifting environment of their wellbeing hub, and provides tailored and authentic support to help women make changes in their life – free of judgment.
Louise explained that many women build a relationship with their organisation initially through Get S.E.T. – but continue their journey by attending other activities and classes like their meditation, yoga and sewing classes. Louise excitedly exclaims that women ‘don’t want to leave!’. As advertised on their pants, MsMissMrs aims to empower women to help them realise their own potential.
Evidence of this, is the incredible Ammy Nicholson – a 22-year-old mum from Denniston, who was introduced to MsMissMrs through their Get S.E.T. programme. I previously knew Ammy through a film we had shared at the start of her journey, so I was more than excited to hear that Ammy has gone from strength to strength. Ammy is not only a cherished advocate for MsMissMrs, but now she works for the organisation – with the goal that in the future she can help facilitate the programme that helped her find her own strength.
Ammy told me about the moment she first walked into MsMissMrs:
“Everyone was so welcoming, it wasn’t like walking into an office or a meeting – there’s beanbags and there’s women chatting – all talking together. They were all just so nice!”
MsMissMrs was there for Ammy at the beginning, when she struggled with self-esteem after having her little girl Caragh. With her new found confidence, and her array of skills – Ammy looks to give back to the organisation that helped her flourish.
“I used to feel as if I didn’t have anything to do when Caragh was at nursery. If I was to remain the way I was, lying in bed watching Netflix – that would’ve taken me back to a depression.
“I like coming here, I’ve got other adults to have a conversation with. Before it was just talking to Caragh, talking on my phone or speaking with Caragh’s nursery teachers – then I’d go home sit in the house myself.
“I didn’t think last year I’d be where I am now!”
MsMissMrs is a place that provides a multitude of support for women and girls to help them unlock their potential. Speaking with Louise and Ammy resonated with me – that with the right support, all women can thrive. I wished the ladies goodbye as I headed back to the office – feeling inspired, and with my women empowerment pants firmly on.