A women’s development programme, developed in the UK and now delivered around the world, is continuing to prove its worth in this country.
The Springboard development programme, developed and run by The Springboard Consultancy (SBC), enables women – from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their lives – to identify the practical and realistic steps that they want to take to make a better world for themselves at work, home and in their wider communities, while building the practical skills and confidence to take these steps.
Zoe Thompson, a civilian member of the Avon & Somerset Police staff, runs a Springboard group of, currently, nine women. All of the women in the group are from Bristol and come from a variety of backgrounds.
One is Polish; two are Jamaican; two are survivors of domestic abuse and one woman has been infected with HIV by her partner. Another woman was the victim of someone who broke into her house and raped her.
“In the group, we explore the idea that, although what’s happened has happened and can’t change, you can learn from it,” explained Zoe. “It enables you to consider the options open to you now, the changes you want to make for the future – and helps you to develop the skills and confidence to make these changes happen.”
Zoe also runs the Springboard programme for police employees – with some 30 women in each group.
Nacera Harkati, of Why Refugee Women, based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, joined a Springboard group in Dubai – where the group was conducted in Arabic, her native language. Nacera then became a Springboard trainer and now works with Muslim women in Sheffield.
“Many of the women with whom I come into contact hide domestic violence behind their religion and their culture,” said Nacera. “But things like forced marriage have nothing to do with religion; nor does female genital mutilation (FMG) – the effects of both of which we deal with in the group.”
Jenny Daisley OBE, SBC’s joint-CEO, said, “We have an abundance of evaluation evidence from the Springboard programme, gathered from many organisations over many years. For example, 84% of the programme’s participants say they’re ‘more open to change’ since attending the Springboard Women’s Development Programme; 83% say they have ‘a more positive attitude’; 80% say they have ‘increased confidence/self-esteem’; 79% say they’re ‘better at managing change’; 78% have ‘taken on more responsibility’; 75% say they can provide evidence that they’re ‘better at problem solving’ and 67% say they can provide evidence that they’re making a ‘better use of resources’.”