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International Women’s Day 2024 – Inspiring Inclusion

Blog Article: International Women’s Day 2024 – Inspiring Inclusion

As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, we resonate powerfully with the theme of “Inspiring Inclusion.” It’s a call to action, urging us to ignite conversations, challenge norms, and champion the full participation of women in all aspects of life. When we inspire others to not just recognize but actively appreciate the importance of women’s inclusion, we take significant strides towards building a better, fairer world. Moreover, when women themselves feel inspired to be included, it fosters a great sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.

We had the pleasure of catching up with a couple of our Volunteer Alumni to explore how their experiences with Project Trust have shaped their journeys toward inspiring inclusion. Through their stories, we discovered the profound impact their volunteer experience has had on their paths, propelling them into roles where they actively champion diversity and belonging.

Lily Beavan – Women in Tandem

I volunteered for Project trust 2012/13 in South India, an unforgettable experience that did hugely shape my values, confidence and drive. The year showed me community is everything, resilience, flexibility and hard work can get you a long way and although failing is scary, it is more scary if you don’t dare to try.

Women in Tandem is a community bike workshop in Nottingham that supports people to feel more confident riding and repairing their bikes. We are women-led, not-for-profit and we create opportunities for those historically underrepresented in cycling, particularly women, to feel empowered to get involved. We build community with regular group bike rides, weekly bike kitchens and monthly maintenance workshops. Other projects include free Dr Bike mobile repair sessions in areas of Nottingham facing social disadvantage, indoor adult Learn to Ride training for Nottingham’s Muslim community and family cycling support for our ‘Mums in Tandem’ group. 

I co-founded Women in Tandem in 2020 at the start of the pandemic; it started with cycling to people’s gardens and fixing their bikes on the street with one set of tools and a bike stand between us. The gender imbalance with cycling only became more apparent, the more we get involved and we were determined to be part of the movement to change this. We registered as a Community Interest Company and applied for small grants to teach women to fix bikes in local parks (socially distanced) and take small groups of 6 out on local rides. This grew and by Feb 2022 we took the leap and took on a workshop space in the city centre; we managed to get a lot of donations from tool and local timber companies to build the teaching workshop that we have now and work full time in. We’ll never make a lot of money, but we do have fun getting more people on bikes. @women_in_tandem

Hannah Lloyd – Women in Wellies

Having grown up with 2 sisters and attended an all girls school I grew up surrounded by strong women, women who were achieving fantastic things and setting examples. My time abroad with Project Trust fundamentally shaped who I am today, I was heading off on a path of teaching and my time in South Africa showed me that this wasn’t for me. I had a year that, like many, had highs and lows, challenges and great adventures and reflecting back 15 years on (can’t quite believe that) it really showed me that I could do whatever I wanted – although that hasn’t always come easily since.

Some of the hardest things we experienced during the year abroad reminded me how unfairly women can be, and still are treated, across the globe. Opportunities are not equal and negative experiences seemed to happen more to the girls and women, than to the boys who we worked with. I was heartened to see the Children’s Home we worked in run by a strong, determined and highly capable woman who provided an outstanding role model to the girls who stayed with us and demonstrated what was possible.

The culmination of upbringing and my time with Project Trust, has inspired many of the areas I have gone on to get involved with as my career has developed. Giving women more of a voice, inspiring the next generation and giving visibility to positive role models is hugely important to me and through the provision of these we can bring more women to the table, make it more inclusive as we all begin to see more who look like us, sound like us and that we can relate to in the conversations we want to be involved in and seizing the opportunities we’d like to have.

I now predominantly work in the rural sector in Scotland. A sector that has traditionally been dominated in many areas by men but that is absolutely bursting with brilliant women, doing amazing things. My co-host Charlotte and I wanted to shout about those stories, to share experiences and inspire others of the opportunities within the rural sector and so the Women in Wellies Podcast was born. We interview guests from all across rural Scotland from accountants to farmers, crofters to gin makers and put their stories out in to the world!

Alongside the other roles I have, I have just been appointed as Chair of the Women in Property Scotland Board. Women in Property (WiP) is the leading networking organisation for women in the built environment, supporting the recruitment and retention of women across the industry and using its platform to encourage girls and young women to consider a career in property. My role with the board allows me, and my fellow board members, to support the activity of the branches across Scotland. WiP runs programmes such as a student awards and school outreach. I hope that through these and the wider work of Women in Property we can provide the positive role models that allow all to see the potential careers in property and construction and to strive for these opportunities. @women_in_wellies

Have you found inspiration in the stories of Lily and Hannah, who dedicated their time to volunteering with Project Trust and have since become catalysts for a more inclusive world for women through their impactful work? If you are 17-25 and you would like to consider applying for a Volunteer placement yourself, have a look at our application process here.

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