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Happy 3rd birthday to Physical Empowerment CIC!

“Have big dreams, you will grow into them.”


When I first registered Physical Empowerment CIC with Companies House on Wednesday the 10th of March 2021, if someone had asked me what I expected to happen or what the future held for Physical Empowerment, I probably would have said something like, “I’d like to help as many women as possible feel safer in their own skin”.


I remember the excitement when we were awarded our first grant from The National Lottery Awards for All programme, the nerves on the first morning of our first course … which mostly disappeared when I realised that every woman entering the room was petrified and had summoned a lot of courage to turn up to this unknown course with unknown teachers, in a new and unfamiliar place.


We learnt so much from that first course and from every course since. When we collect user feedback, it is not to please funders or to be able to quote statistics, we use that feedback to shape future courses for more women. We are never complacent and we always say that the women who attend our courses are our greatest teachers.


Every year, when the list of women killed by men is read out to a near-empty Parliament, my resolve is strengthened. Many of our team and the women we work with, could have been names read out in Parliament if fate had taken a slightly different turn. No-one is ever “just another number / service user / client”. Every individual matters.


“This is the only course I have discovered that offers follow up sessions, so it doesn't just dump you after the 10 weeks.  It is a group therapy led course that promotes sisterhood and friendship. All together we help heal each other, give and receive valuable advice in difficult situations and promote positivity and love.”

Physical Empowerment member since January 2023


There have been some unexpected challenges during our third year, including having to leave one community centre as we were deemed “too high risk”. Luckily, after a brief transition period, we found a fantastic new home in another centre in Port Talbot and with teamwork, turned it into a cosy space within a matter of days. This is our hub, the headquarters of Physical Empowerment CIC. A safe place for every woman who attends.


Physical Empowerment members


Physical Empowerment in Dyfed Powys

Thanks to generous funding from People’s Health Trust and Dyfed Powys Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office and based on the success of our 2023 pilot course, we are in the process of building a permanent project in Carmarthenshire. We are currently running a course in a homely, welcoming community centre in Llanelli and we were very proud to welcome the Police & Crime Commissioner on a visit recently.


Physical Empowerment team with the Police & Crime Commissioner


Physical Empowerment people

I am extremely proud to say that we now have fourteen registered volunteers, the majority of whom are women who have attended our courses and two of whom are males who help us to train our volunteer coaches. These volunteers receive regular training and when they feel ready, they go out and run community sessions with groups such as Age Connects and local colleges.


I am also delighted that three of our volunteers are in the process of training up to be Physical Empowerment coaches. They are working and studying hard and the aim is that they will be qualified to run their own Physical Empowerment courses by 2025. That is true empowerment!


In November 2023, Jenny retired from her active coaching role and we had a wonderful surprise party to celebrate her time with us. She continues in her role as Director which is great although I miss her “on the ground”!


We also have one volunteer who runs the volunteer administration and helps me with finances which makes a massive difference.


From the 2nd of April 2024, we will be welcoming a new Operations Manager who will work across all the Physical Empowerment geographical areas, help to create a corporate training model and build partnerships with even more organisations. This will, among other things, allow me to focus on coaching courses and training more coaches and volunteers which is what’s needed to ensure that Physical Empowerment continues to grow in a positive and productive way.


Physical Empowerment team


Funders & other organisations

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our funders. Without your belief in what we do, Physical Empowerment would not be able to run the way it does. I speak for myself and every woman we have supported when I say “Diolch yn fawr iawn” from the bottom of our hearts.


Our 2023 – 2024 funders include National Lottery Awards for All, Moondance Foundation, The Postcode Lottery, The Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust, People’s Health Trust, Dyfed Powys Police & Crime Commissioner, Trust House Foundation and the Waterloo Foundation. We appreciate every one of you, thank you.


Thank you to David at Social Business Wales for organising a business consultant to write a three year strategic business plan for Physical Empowerment which is going to be a huge help on our onward journey.


Thank you to Sarah at With Hindsite, I refer to her as “the magic website lady” and she is consistently fantastic and keeps our website in tip-top shape.


We often say in funding applications that we are “people-focused and user-led” and this is 100% true. The women we support are at the heart of everything we do and every one of them is a unique individual who matters. I admire each and every one of them for their strength, courage and kindness.


Looking forward: what does the future hold for Physical Empowerment?

We will continue to offer long-term, effective support to those who have completed a course with us. Our hub in Port Talbot is growing and we are aiming to emulate this in Dyfed Powys.


We will continue to promote preventative work with teenage girls so they don’t end up as women who need our courses in the future.


We will create a course specifically for rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors.


We will develop a corporate training framework so our CIC (Community Interest Company) can start to generate independent income.


We will recruit more volunteers and coaches from women who complete a course with us and continue to offer regular, high-quality training which helps them to develop transferable skills and build confidence.


We will continue to grow our sisterhood and always remember that #strongwomenlifteachotherup


We will continue to learn together, grow together, cry together, laugh together and heal together.


Physical Empowerment is no longer just a dream, it is a reality; something that has supported many women and will continue to support so many more.


Every woman has the right to know that she is worth protecting and the right to be taught the emotional, mental and physical skills that allow her to protect herself.


Physical Empowerment members


“I thank you for the confidence you have given me to go through life.”


"This program has enabled me to reset my mind to before the abuse, I am more confident, happier and feel stronger in the sense that I could protect myself and others if I needed to."


“I hope that Physical Empowerment is available for all.”


“I hope Physical Empowerment grows and more classes are available across the country.”


“I hope that Physical Empowerment lasts forever.”


All quotes from women who have attended courses with us… as always, they say it better than I ever could. Thank you to each and every one of you, you are an inspiration.


Here’s to the next three years!


Onwards and upwards,


Philippa / Pip


xx


Philippa Scannell, March 2024



If you'd like to talk to us, join one of our courses or are in need of our help, please contact us!


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