North Edinburgh based charity sets goal to support 2020 women and girls this year

SHE Scotland has set ambitious goals for the year.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 11:45 am
Left to right: Nicole Lyons, Vicki-lee Fyfe, Lynn McGraw, Karen Anderson, Emma Coleman, Amanda Redpath and Zoe Black.

A charitable organisation based in North Edinburgh has begun the year with a pledge to support 2020 women and girls in the Lothians in 2020.

SHE Scotland, led by Karen Anderson, supports women and girls by delivering workshops in schools and training programmes to women.

Founded by Ms Anderson in 2017, the organisation supported 760 girls and women in 2019, and aims to reach 2020 this year, including delivering workshops to 20 high schools and 20 primary schools.

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“We’re looking forward to 2020. It might sound like a big pledge but I know we can reach it,” said Ms Anderson.

“Those girls and young women are out there and we want to create that support for them.”

SHE Scotland gives workshops to young girls around issues including body image, self-esteem, confidence and friendship.

Mentors work with girls as young as 10, and Ms Anderson expects to work with even younger children in the future.

“There are many examples of girls feeling inadequate or concerned about how they look, even girls as young as 10,” said Ms Anderson.

“A lot of the work we do is about accepting ourselves and who we are - it’s about the contribution we made, not about how we look.”

One of the programs offered by SHE Scotland trains youngsters to be ‘ambassadors’.

The 10-week programme delivered through one session a week at school gives girls the tools to become mentors to other girls younger than themselves.

She added: “You’re working against a lot of other influences and impacts but you have to start somewhere.”

“What concerns me is the impact of social media, and the lack of kindness we have as a society.”

The training encourages girls to be more conscious of their own self-esteem and confidence, and to be positive about other girls - in terms of who they are and not just how they look.

“We don’t empower people, they empower themselves,” said Ms Anderson.

We create the opportunity and the environment for that.”

Ms Anderson received a Liam Fontaine Local Hero award in November, a ‘complete shock and surprise’ which she was nominated for by women involved in SHE Scotland.

Many women who have previously been mentored by SHE Scotland now work to mentor younger women.

The organisation recently began a partnership with Edinburgh College to offer an SQA SHE Mentoring Award.

The free course, delivered at Granton Campus, is delivered one morning a week and covers two units and a placement.

Ms Anderson founded the organisation in her local area of North Edinburgh, but in the past two years it has spread to all areas of the city.

The group also sent seven women - including Ms Anderson - to Tanzania this year to train 25 local women to deliver workshops.

“These issues don’t just affect women in Scotland,” said Ms Anderson.

“And they don’t just affect women either,” she added.