Laura Jones and Claire Abbs are two of the Founders of Norfolk social enterprise, People for Purpose. Here, they explain how the aim is for women working in small charities to be seen, recognised and supported to fulfil their potential
Three women from Norfolk have launched a new programme of events and opportunities which aim to lift, inspire, train and support other women working for local small charities, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations. People for Purpose is the brainchild of the founding directors Laura Jones, Claire Abbs and Faye Anderson, who connected when working together in the Norfolk voluntary sector. All three women have spent most of their careers working for local charities.
After years of working in the sector, the colleagues spotted that many women working in smaller charities were not able to access the same training, career support, personal and leadership development as peers working in large organisations or the commercial world.
People for Purpose, which is a small social enterprise, is aiming to fill that gap in Norfolk with the launch of a new programme of events and opportunities.
With professional expertise in leadership, team development and personality profiling, the teamwork with large organisations to help individuals and teams develop and flourish. With thanks to support from Creativity Unbound and the Big Lottery Awards for All, the plan is to make these training and development opportunities available, for free, to women working in small charities in Norfolk; people who would otherwise not have access or the funds to afford it. A range of events will also be open more widely to those working across Norfolk’s not-for-profit organisations.
On Friday July 28, People for Purpose will host a launch event at Yard Coffee in Norwich, bringing Norfolk’s women across not-for-profit sectors together. The event is called ‘handling hormones at work and in life’ with expert talks delivered by two GPs from Norfolk Menopause.
Laura Jones, co-founder of People for Purpose says: ‘We have a driving passion to open up personal development and career opportunities for women who work so hard for Norfolk’s small charities and not-for-profits.
‘We’ve all spent the vast majority of our careers in the charity sector, and it was so clear to us that women working in small charities simply don’t have equal access to training, personal development and coaching as their peers in the commercial world or those working for larger charities. These people, mostly women, are often overlooked, but play such a vital role in society. People for Purpose wishes to help them achieve their aspirations and give them a space to reflect, connect and grow through fully funded training opportunities, networking events and a supportive community.
‘People working for charities are driven by a desire to do something with a purpose, to make society better and to help others – but fly under the radar. Small charities and not-for-profits don’t have the budgets for as much training, coaching or mentoring as commercial businesses, and we want to try and fill that gap locally.’
Claire Abbs, co-founder adds: ‘We’re deeply passionate about the critical role small charities and social enterprises play in society. And we want to support women working in charities, to reach their goals. Laura and I have both been CEOs of small local charities and have experienced how tough it can be to lead and work in a small charity. With the cost-of-living crisis, we’re seeing bigger cracks in society, and small charities are picking up the pieces. People for Purpose has a strong personal drive to support these brilliant people who do so much for others, leading and working in our local charities.
‘Women also face additional hurdles in their career development, such as caring responsibilities, childcare, debilitating perimenopause, and menopause symptoms to manage. And it is well publicised that one in 10 women who were in work while going through the menopause left their job due to their symptoms [Source: Fawcett Society]. Manging the menopause is the focus of our first event. Sponsored by Creativity Unbound and with support from Norfolk Menopause, we’re looking forward to our first get together at Yard Coffee on Friday 28 July. While it is small scale, we hope it will help women to build connections, boost their confidence and benefit from some uplifting energy in the room.
‘Thanks to Big Lottery Awards for All Fund, following this we will be offering a wider programme of talks, training and other free and funded opportunities for women working in Norfolk’s small charities and wider not-for-profit organisations, so they can fulfil their potential and be the very best they can be.’
People for Purpose are building on a previous successful programme. In 2022, the People for Purpose team ran a Lead and Grow programme for women working in small voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises in Norwich. It covered leadership training, insights personality profiles, inspiring speakers and peer support.
Tickets to the People for Purpose ‘Handling Hormones’ event on Friday 28 July, at 6pm, are free. Numbers are limited. If you work for a local charity or not-for-profit organisation and would like to attend, go to Handling Hormones at work and in life Tickets on Eventbrite to get your ticket which includes a welcome drink. You can also register your interest in upcoming opportunities by emailing email@example.com. Visit People for Purpose.
Featured image: two of the founders of People for Purpose, Laura (left) and Claire (right)