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Leading the way for young women

"The organisation I work for has just launched a very exciting new project called Leading Lights which I have the pleasure of running! Ormiston Trust, in conjunction with Trinity House, the Honourable Company of Master Mariners (HCMM) and the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO), have set up a project with the aim of inspiring girls to recognise that they can achieve more for their futures. As their aspirations increase, they will become more resilient and determined to do better in their lives.

Ormiston Trust has been running for around 40 years and aims to improve the life-chances of children and young people. The Trust funds grants to the students of the Ormiston Academies Trust which has established 34 academies across England; many in areas of high deprivation. The young girls who have been chosen to go on this year’s voyages are from Year 10 and who have low levels of confidence and self-esteem.

The project will see these Year 10 female students go on board an 85-foot-long sailing boat with business women, and learn how to sail for 4-5 days along with a professional crew. The businesswomen have been recruited to provide light touch mentoring to the students which will focus on inspiring them to think about future aspirations and goals. In the short term, the voyage will increase certain skills of the students such as confidence, motivation, teamwork and others.

As a grant giving organisation, we recognise the importance of the work that goes on surrounding a one-off activity, which gives the project further clout and increases the chance of longer term impacts on the beneficiaries also. Therefore, the work that academy leads can do inside the academies both before and after the voyage will allow the impacts of the project to be further implemented and sustained. This so far includes people in business giving talks to the students and sessions on building resilience and motivation.

The project is being evaluated based on a self-assessment survey which the students are doing before and after the first and last session. There is also an observational record of the students as they attend school sessions and there will be self-assessments and opportunities for feedback after the voyages as well. We look forward to gathering this data and information on the project in order to produce evidence on short term impacts.

At this point in time we are looking for businesses to bring this project to life through collaboration and sponsorship. For the two voyages which are taking place in May 2018, we have specifically invited businesswomen to participate. By committing their time and energy to this unique project, they will be given the chance to make a real difference to the lives of these young people in an environment where they will work, live and communicate together on the same level. If the pilot runs as well as is hoped, it is our aim to increase the number of trips per year and we would like to open up the project to all students at Ormiston academies."

Charlotte Wright, Ormiston Trust

If you would like to learn more please head to and if you would like to chat further about possible opportunities to get involved please contact [email protected]

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