The gift that keeps giving

11th February 2021

Young women and girls in Harlow, Ongar and West Essex are being given the chance to unlock their potential and have a brighter future.

A special initiative by The Gifted Organisation, to provide online sessions giving girls and young women support and inspiration, has received high-profile backing with a grant of £4,690 from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

The grant, which has come from the High Sheriff’s Fund, managed by ECF, has given The Gifted Organisation a vital boost at a time of enormous challenges. Lockdowns and school closures caused by the Covid pandemic affected referrals for the organisation’s services and meant that support sessions could no longer be held face-to-face.

Determination won the day and means that much-needed online support, confidence-building and life and work skills sessions are helping vulnerable or disadvantaged young women and girls living in Harlow, Ongar and across West Essex.

Tori Pearson, partnerships and progressions manager of The Gifted Organisation said: “Young people are at the heart and soul of what we do and we work with them to create solutions to the difficulties they face.

“We have been hearing of the crippling isolation and anxiety young women and girls have been experiencing during lockdown. It is a really tough time for them, they can’t go out or see their friends and they feel starved of the things that mean so much to them.  Many lead very complex lives and if they are vulnerable the current situation makes them more so.

“We feel that this is the forgotten generation and that is why we are determined to get our online project going. It is so important, as it gives a connection for young women and girls to learn skills that they can go on to use in real life. The more services we can provide to make them feel they are not alone and can achieve the better.”

The online sessions and workshops for girls and young women aged 15 to 25 range from yoga to inspirational talks and advice from high-achieving female mentors from various sectors.

Tori said: “Everyone in the The Gifted Organisation loves working with young people, supporting them to unlock their gifts and create brighter futures for themselves. Our aim is to enable young people to develop transferable skills while supporting their emotional and mental wellbeing and helping them move forward in a positive way, gaining creative, entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

“The young people themselves have emphasised a clear need for our services, saying how it has a real impact on their lives.”

Since it was founded in 2012, The Gifted Organisation has worked with over 4,000 young people and the funding from ECF will mean that their help and motivational support can reach many more.

If you are a voluntary or community organisation in need of funding, click here to check if you are eligible for an ECF grant.