Girls mentoring scheme already a success

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

The Tees Valley arm of the Girls’ Network are proud to announce that they have trained 150 female mentors, successfully pairing them with over 100 local girls.

Launched in 2013, the Girls’ Network is a national charity which aims to inspire and empower girls aged 14-19 from the least advantaged communities by connecting them to a mentor and a network of professional, female role models.

Spearheaded by Teesside university’s Professor Jane Turner OBE, the network expanded into the Tees Valley in July 2020, with funding from the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

“I’m thrilled that The Girls’ Network has developed a presence in the Tees Valley,” said Professor Turner.

“We have a moral obligation to do everything we can to ensure that the young women of our region are enabled to build the futures they deserve. The Girls’ Network will continue to create a network of mentors and mentees that will change outcomes and lives.”

The project is supported by many high-profile Tees business leaders, including former Tees Businesswomen of the Year Sharon Lane and Claire Preston, North Star Housing Group CEO Angela Lockwood, NEPIC business development director Joanne Fryett, Liz Edwards, co-founder and CEO of charity Rubies, and CEO Sleepout CEO Bianca Robinson.

“We have a large and strong network of professional women here in the Tees Valley who were actively trying to establish a way of providing mentoring to girls and young women,” said Sharon.

“It was therefore incredibly exciting to discover the Girls’ Network. With the benefit of our professional experience, we can really make a difference to the lives of less advantaged girls and young women.”

Adds Claire: “Young people need role models, support and encouragement to understand life challenges, believe their potential and the opportunities available to them. Mentors inspire and motivate and can make a vast difference to the setting and achieving of life goals.”

Angela Lockwood cites her role as mentor as a “privilege,” saying: “I’m choosing to mentor firstly because I know that the young women in our region need support right now, secondly, because I think I’m going to get a lot out of it and lastly because it’s important to me to support the next generation of professional women.”

Joanne Fryett added: “Having spent over 25 years in the Tees Valley and North-East region, I’ve have had a great number of people support me, and as a result I’m now in a position to be able to give something back, so the Girls’ Network was a natural choice for me to get involved with.”

Liz Edwards commented: “It’s great to know there will be more women working to release the amazing potential of girls in Teesside! For too long our girls have been overlooked or labelled as disadvantaged, yet they each have unique strengths and talents. Rubies is looking forward to seeing those strengths developed through this project.”

Bianca Robinson said: “Our region has many successful and inspirational business leaders who also happen to be women.

“But often our girls, who may live in areas of high deprivation and poverty, won’t see them. Opportunities and career paths aren’t always obvious, or even visible.

“That’s why I think it’s hugely important to put an elevator in place, to bring these girls into the world of opportunity, so that they can see what’s available to them and the pathways to getting there themselves.”

The Tees Valley Girls’ Network is managed by Rosalind Stuart, who concluded: “Girls from the least advantaged communities in the Tees Valley face the double disadvantage of both the class and glass ceiling, plus we know you can’t be what you can’t see, so I want to match as many of these girls as I can with a local role model, to inspire them to think big with their ambitions.

“There are many women in the region who have learnt life lessons along the way, who are willing to commit an hour a month to make a difference to the life of a local girl.

“If this is you, get in touch or support The Girls’ Network by donating, fundraising, partnering with us as a business, and sharing our work with your network.”

For more information contact rosalind@thegirlsnetwork.org.uk.