On 12 March Young Women’s Trust, a national charity which supports and represents young women living on low or no pay, launched a local network group for young women aged 16-30 living in South East London.
The event, which took place at the Talent Factory, Barmeston Road, Catford, was attended by a number of high profile people from the community, including representatives from Voluntary Action Lewisham, Cllr David Michael, Heidi Alexander MP for Lewisham East, Fiona Small- founder of Young Mums Network and Natalie Tomlinson an award winning youth worker and blogger.
The YWT South East London network was launched by two young women- Noor Kalumba 24 and Kerri Leung Sykes 26 who both live in South East London. They became involved in the charity after their own personal experiences of being not in education, employment or training (NEET). Throughout their own experience they realised there was little support for young women who may find themselves in similar circumstances. As result The dynamic duo decided to start the network with the support of the national charity YWT.
Kerri Leung Sykes, Local Network Leader, said: “We started our local network because we genuinely want to influence positive change for young women in our community. We hope we can make an impact and continue to reach out to young women so they feel empowered to make a difference.”
The young women have ambitious plans for the network but ultimately want to create a safe space for young women to be able to share their experiences and speak out about the issues they would like to see addressed locally such as the creation of more jobs and better quality employment training.
A number of guests spoke at the event including Heidi Alexander MP, who encouraged young women to get involved in politics and have their voices heard.
Fiona Small, founder of Young Mums Network, also an uplifting speech, as did Natalie Tomlinson, who talked about the importance of young women working together and empowering one another: “If I am powerful and you are powerful together we are dynamite.”
The event was attended by a number of young women from the local area who were encouraged to share their hopes for the future and to commit to one action to move the network forward.
The South London network will host regular monthly meetings which will begin in Early April.