Jeorgina Soares and Fatuma Nalule are two inspiring individuals who are working to make a difference to their local community in Barking with the help of Southern Housing Group.
The pair set up TrianGoals in 2013 as a way to provide accessible and affordable activities that improve the lives of residents in Barking Reach and Barking Riverside.
“We wanted to make a real change in our neighbourhood and create opportunities for the people who live here, regardless of their landlord or housing tenure,” they explain.
Despite the recent redevelopment of Barking Riverside, a significant number of households here are economically inactive. TrianGoals focuses on supporting two key groups that have a direct impact on addressing this: children and young people, and women.
TrianGoals launched the Women’s Empowerment Group in January 2015 to provide support and guidance to women in the Barking community. The group meets monthly to network, socialise over dinner, and learn from motivational guest speakers. Around 40-60 people attend each month, and the group is open to all, regardless of age, gender, or where they live.
Jeorgina said: “We genuinely feel that a significant number of these women, many of whom have been unemployed for a long period of time, have lost their confidence and direction. Because of this, we find that they are out of touch with their potential to improve life for themselves and their families.”
The key objectives of the group are to:
Improve women’s mental and physical wellbeing through exercise and healthy eating
Support women who suffer or have suffered domestic abuse
Improve women’s self-esteem through positive activities and support
Fight poverty and improve women’s financial management skills
Jeorgina said: “The Women’s Empowerment Group is a unique opportunity for women to express themselves freely and improve their confidence and wellbeing. The group allows women to engage in and learn more about different topics related to the day to day issues they face, but may ordinarily feel uncomfortable discussing. We provide a welcoming, relaxed environment where people are able to express themselves freely without fear, judgment, or prejudice.”
Previous guest speakers have included representatives from Barking Enterprise Centre who have provided business guidance, Job Centre Barking, who have talked about employment opportunities, neighbourhood police who have spoken about domestic violence and abuse, and representatives from local authorities who have spoken with the group about safeguarding those around them.
Fatuma explains the difference this has made to local residents: “Since we’ve set up the group, many of the women who’ve taken part have increased their confidence, built up their self-esteem, and are better able to stand up for themselves. Some of them have had educational and training opportunities through the group, and others have seen their businesses grow.”
One member of the group remarked: “The group has made me more confident and has helped my self-esteem – I feel extremely motivated.”
The Women’s Empowerment Group is funded with help from Southern Housing Group and L&Q Housing, with other local organisations such as Barking Riverside Ltd and The Rivergate Centre providing additional support such as facilities, guest speakers, or catering. The group continues to grow considerably, with more people from outside Barking getting involved.
Fatuma said: “We’d like to continue to grow the work we do to support and empower women. In particular, we’d like to host more family-oriented events where the whole family can take part, and work with more organisations to provide more opportunities to women.”
You can see more of what the Women’s Empowerment Group have been doing on their Facebook page; alternatively, if you’d like to get involved, contact Jeorgina and Fatuma at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeorgina Soares (left) and Fatuma Nalule from Barking-based TrianGoals
For all enquiries, please contact:
Mary Weeks Communications Manager Southern Housing Group 0207 553 6841