The journey for Inspire Women Oldham (Inspiring Futures Partnership CIC) has been a collaborative and co-created one. Foundations are built on recognising women’s gifts with the ability to contribute to their own/other’s journeys. Recognising their inherent strengths and contributions has been critical in shaping our organisation. Our passion and interests are focused on social value, community self organisation and the opportunities it brings, particularly to women in re-creating services and places they would want grow and to live. We believe that harnessing the gifts that women have, creating both the space and culture for women to develop for themselves is key to sustaining thriving communities.
Our work with women has been based on how women are able to come up with their own solutions; tapping into their gifts, self organising, creating a cooperative, equal space where women create something locally and inspire others to develop in their own unique way. Our approach is based on a set of beliefs that recognises individual gifts and the importance of social connections, voice and place; inviting women to adapt and evolve, further developing new uses and new connections within their communities and interests.
This approach encourages the creation of listening spaces, redefines power and begins from a place of equality and human connection. What we deliver is based on what women want. We invite women to self organise around the issues they care most about. We move away from the categories of victims/helpers and instead start from a place of equality and human connection. We work with what is present, not what is absent; we facilitate, creating opportunities for connection in a beautiful welcoming space. A space that is based on kindness, compassion and equality of power with humility at its heart. In this space women have re-discovered their voice, changed their language, become equal, free to pursue ideas and passions, to shape and re-shape, to co-produce the organisation.
Inspire Women offers enabling and transformational pathways that facilitates the journey of Inspire Women Members to Associates, that is co-created by the women. At the heart of this approach is a common thread of identifying, valuing and building on strengths. This includes a re-framing of language that focuses on strengths and capabilities rather than needs and deficits. The pathways are built upon foundations of kindness, equality and giving, with an emphasis on growth and greatness. Women are taken on a progressive journey of becoming visible, finding their true voice, becoming leaders of their own lives, inspiring other women to realise their gifts and purpose.
As women join us from being Members to Associates those stories are built upon and the message becomes stronger as they become visible. Their lives, journeys and stories are their messages facilitating opportunities to co produce collective stories that shape, re-shape and support the constant evolution of our organisation. We see the wholeness and potential in women, not what is broken and it is from this space that we begin our connection.
Women achieve this in a variety of ways that includes:
- Engaging and connecting with other women in a safe and welcoming space that is built on equality, kindness and giving.
- Realising and celebrating their gifts through a personal development journey that focuses on the woman finding her true self and fulfilling her potential.
- Becoming an Associate, a Heart Centred Leader. Celebrating her voice and visibility, learning, changing and growing. Recognising her value and purpose, sharing her journey story. She uses her passion and devotion to improve the world, inspiring other women to begin their own awakening journey, turning impossible into possible.
Women are encouraged to continue to develop their skills and focus on personal development and growth through the Member to Associate Pathway. The Associate Pathway provides women with the opportunity of gifting time and paid sessional work. Women are also supported with both internal and external training opportunities to support their learning and development ambitions. This in turn creates opportunities for women to build the capacity of Members and fellow Associates and to develop projects within their own communities that are gender specific and gift led. We feel that women are more capable than organisation positions so we don’t have them. Women organise themselves around their gifts, passion and emerging purpose. Our model can be contrasted to that of traditional Staffing and Volunteer Models where management and influencing is built around foundations of formal power and authority for leaders. In September 2017 we achieved a major milestone in our journey story in that all delivery is now facilitated by women who came into the Centre as members.