Over the past year, we have had:
102 Women's Friendship Group participants
59 Volunteer Development participants
120 ESOL participants
32 Chai Time participants
Completed 108 financial advocacy cases from January 2022 to March 2023
13 Click to Connect ICT Course participants with 12 receiving accreditation
55 employability workshop participants
56 1-to-1 employability clients
Through our team, Amina was also part of a signatory for a letter to the Scottish First Minister urging her to double the Scottish Child Bridging Payments. Read the letter to the Scottish First Minister here.
The DWP partnership aim was to support Muslim and BME Women in Greater Glasgow in overcoming barriers to accessing the job market, learning pathways, improving mental health and wellbeing, confidence building, and motivational support.
We successfully ran the program within the allocated timescale reaching our intended target. We supported women in empowering them to make choices to better themselves and be open to more prospects. We did this by:
- Enhancing their skills for searching and securing employment;
- Enhancing their knowledge of the job market relevant to their area of interest and expertise;
- By supporting them in progressing along further education/training pathways;
- Signposting them to other internal and external support services, including referrals to Amina ESOL classes, financial advocacy, mental health, and wellbeing support services;
- Making employment/training and learning opportunities more accessible for BME & Muslim women; and
- Increasing their confidence, self-awareness, and resilience to help them transition from receiving benefits to getting into paid employment/training opportunities.
Volunteer Development Programme
The volunteering programme has supported 30+ women into understanding what volunteering is, the range of roles available, what organisations they can get involved with, and what progression routes are available. In partnership with Volunteer Glasgow, women took part in discussions around what commitments they can make to their desired organisation as well as what skills and qualities they can offer. Many women have found these sessions helpful by opening their minds to the range of roles they can volunteer in along with reflecting on interpersonal skills they hold and how they can incorporate these skills into volunteering.
10 ladies have successfully volunteered with organisations that interest them. This has allowed the women to grow in confidence, use and expand on the skills they have, as well as have the opportunity to learn new skills. Volunteering has given women the opportunity to engage within their community and make new connections.
We have also ran Volunteer Drop In sessions where women were able to come in to our office and have a face to face conversation exploring a range of ideas based on their interests, education, and experience. Some women have felt the effect of isolation from the pandemic or having lost loved ones during this time and wished to make new connections. This has allowed women to give back to their community and have a purpose to work towards whilst reducing isolation.
The 2022 Summer School was a series of six weekly sessions focusing on the most requested areas of interest and presenting ESOL tuition as a mini toolkit for success. It could also be described as a series of ‘taster’ sessions for those unsure of what their next ESOL step should be.
The areas of focus during the summer school were:
- Going to college/accessing further education;
- Getting a job/finding employment;
- Taking a SELT (secure English language test) exam; and
- Taking the Life in the UK Test.
The last two areas relate to qualifying for British citizenship.
The Summer School had a work and resource-book to accompany it. Material was taken from trusted official sources (British Council, SELT providers, Life in the UK Test), adapted for two broad ESOL levels (A2/elementary; B1/intermediate), and presented in a workbook that was sent everyone who had registered for the Summer School. Attendees could choose to do A2 or B1 exercises (or both!) every week.
The level of engagement was high with a good number of attendees submitting work to be marked/assessed. It also attracted a wide range of participants – including long-time ESOL class attendees, former attendees who now attend college and were able to join us during the summer break, and new attendees who joined the Summer School as a ‘primer’ for starting/returning to college. Feedback was very positive with a number of attendees achieving success in the main focus areas.
Chai Time was an online social space that ran via Zoom every two weeks between 2020 and 2023. Lasting for 2 hours each week, it was a space where ladies could get together to practice conversational English, make new friends, and learn about topics they were interested in. Between 2020 and 2023, nearly 600 women joined Chai Time to catch up with friends and learn something new.
Financial Advocacy Workshops
We were awarded Government Funding to host a workshop on Poverty and Inequalities. With their agreement, we extended this to have 3 workshops to best help the ladies we work with. The first one which had 18 participants was "Let’s talk about benefits" which discussed general information accompanied with some frank discussions about the challenges our participants had. The second one, "Let's talk about specific support for families", had 7 participants and included talks about how the pandemic has affected them. The third workshop was "Women's Financial Rights in Islam" and was hosted by our Alima. This workshop was in 3 parts: Rights towards our Creator, Rights towards His Creation, and Rights of His Creation. Included was lots of information about the Sacred Sharia Law, Zakat, dowry, and obligations.
We got lots of very positive feedback. Comments included about how useful the workshops were. Many asked for and received follow up help including applying for benefits, applying for Zakat, information about local services, and also referrals to colleagues within Amina for other support.