Independent Mother – Employment Support Project

Business-in-a-nappy-bag

Who is Independent Mother?

Independent Mother is an organisation that was started in response to an overwhelming need for support and empowerment of Mothers who were parenting alone.
The stigma and negative connotations that had suppressed millions of single mothers worldwide needed to be challenged in order to liberate and remind them how incredible they are.

In order for these Mothers to feel socially and financially confident and liberated there are many areas in which they require support, Independent Mother aims to explore these and offer solutions.

Independent Mother Employment Support Project

Independent Mother was formed in order to create a new support network of and for Single Mothers who have been through similar experiences and have felt isolated and withdrawn from social circles.
The new Independent Mother Employment Support Project aims to do the same, but with regards to supporting women back into Employment.
The holistic approach that we propose will offer exposure to a wide range of alternative career options with prospects that are suited to their circumstances.
The aim is to inspire and reignite confidence back into women who feel they have lost their identity before embarking on the path of employment.
Our 4-step strategy offers a unique and realistic method for targeting the areas of their life we believe are key to building a successful future.

We call this project Business-in-a-Nappy-Bag.

Baby bag, Diaper bag, Changing bag… Call it what you will, but all Mums come to rely on a magical bag that contains all the resources they’ll need the moment they step out into the big wide world.
This approach to employment is no different. Depending on which aspects of the course the participants sign-up to, they will receive a brand-new Nappy Bag that will include not only physical items but also training resources that they will use in order to explore the new career opportunities on offer to them.

What is the Employment Projects Objective?

Returning to work as a Mother poses many different challenges.
Once you become a single parent you are often reliant on less income, resources and support. This makes the challenge seem impossible for many.
The feelings of overwhelm and anxiety at the prospect of returning to work, leaving your child and re-establishing a new routine can seem like a daunting prospect for many.
Expecting a Mother to pick-up where they left off before having a child is simply an unreasonable and unachievable demand.
The loss of personal identity and difficulty in adapting to the unpredictable day-to-day challenges faced by Mothers can make the simplest of arrangements feel too pressurised.
This in turn will only alienate these women and pushback the time frame of which they are able to process and manage change.
By supporting these Mothers with a holistic approach you are more likely to see her not only return to work, but stay there.

Who meets the criteria?

  • Some Mothers may have temporarily left a job on maternity leave but are struggling with the idea of returning with their new circumstances. Or they feel it is no longer a viable option for them to return at all.
  • Some mothers may have come from a relationship/marriage in which they took on the role of stay-at-home parent whilst their partner went to work. After the relationship breaks down where does that leave her in terms of employment?
  • Some Mothers left the workforce completely to have their child and are now lacking in the confidence and skills to know where or how to start their career back up again.
  • Some mothers don’t have transferrable skill sets, so if the job they previously had is no longer a feasible option then starting again can feel like a daunting prospect.
  • With childcare now the primary issue, the job a Mother aspires to now seems like a distant prospect, how can they make it work for them?
  • No career and no clue of where to begin or what path even interests them but they are keen to break free from being reliant on Universal Credit.

The one thing the majority of these Mothers will all have, is a shared loss of identity.
The shift from living as a child-free individual to suddenly having every aspect of your life revolve and prioritise around the existence of a child is a feeling that takes time to adjust to. Whether you’ve embraced it or are still adjusting to it, your day, your spare time and your energy levels are changed forever.

How does the project aim to help Mothers?

The Independent Mother Business-in-a-nappy-bag project reflects the dramatically evolving and unpredictable climate we are now living in. We do this by offering online and in-person support that will firstly create a group of Mothers with a unique skill set that reflects the changes to the job market. Secondly, this newly assembled team will have the ability to come together to run a business that they can work around a variety of childcare circumstances.

4 Steps to Change

At Independent Mother, we believe there are 4 key steps to ensuring that a Mother returns to work and remains in work.

Step 1: Building a strong Foundation

In order to have a chance of building the strong foundations needed for a successful or at least a manageable career, Independent Mother believes you must tackle the basics first.

  • Confidence
  • Routine
  • identity
  • Habits
  • Support network

These are essential before taking the first steps into questioning what role would suit the participant.

Coaching sessions would involve setting realistic timetables to stick to and work on gradually. These can be tailor made during one-to-one sessions or supported during group discussions. This is so that difficulties can be shared amongst others and advice can be a collective effort.
We would also offer parenting classes to focus on any external issues that prohibit the individual from achieving the healthy mental state that is needed to motivate themselves and prioritise their needs alongside being a care giver. In order for a Mother to know the hours they will be able to work, they need to establish a support network that will be able to step in and be a reliable source of assistance. If a mother has no support network and is totally isolated then external sources will need to be accessed or explored to provide an alternative solution.

Step 2: Finding the right match

Once these factors have been addressed it is time to figure out what the individual has to offer and what they will need to work on with regards to their skill set.

  • Current qualifications
  • Previous experience
  • Aspirations
  • Passions

These are a few of the topics will be explored to find the best start and match for the participant.
Often due to confidence and a lack of time needed to focus on this topic, Mothers overlook what they have to offer and under value themselves.
Work coaches will be on hand to offer advice and establish a new perspective on what is achievable.

Step 3: Learn, train, expand

It is only by identifying the areas a participant needs support and training for, that you can start to figure out the type of role they may want to pursue.
By this point in the course many participants will know what career they are pursuing and others feel more confident to explore new possible paths and skills.
It is at this point in the course that we will begin a practical approach and offer a real-life scenario; The Business-in-a-Nappy-Bag formula.
Using a selection of real innovative products that Mothers can actually use in their day-to-day life the team of participants will explore their chosen career.

Examples of training options:

The world is filled to the brim with options for every type of product and service you can imagine. From common and over saturated areas to areas that provide a response to needs you’d be shocked even have a place on the market.
Selling is the point in which money exchanges hands, so knowing how to make that happen is important regardless of what you want to sell.

Being able to market a product is a key strategy that all businesses need to adopt regardless of what the product/service is. The research and theory that goes into marketing makes it a constantly evolving concept. Knowing the basics can help understand what’s possible.

Making a website is something you need a qualification or professional experience for… or is it? We show you how to produce and maintain the basics and explore a number of different platforms that are the backbone to online businesses.

The business side of social media is so much more than scrolling through what your ‘social media friends’ are claiming to be up to right now. Businesses rely on social media now so knowing ‘the basics’ is essential to understanding ‘the why’.

Product reviews, books of all genres, descriptions, blogs and even C.V’s are all very styles of writing but all are essential in different ways. We will explore the options and the people that make a living from writing.

From photography to producing an eye-catching advert, what we see everywhere we look evokes a reaction.
It’s someone’s job to make that happen. We will explore how to start with the basics.

Having a business or selling who you are and what you do doesn’t happen by accident or without investment of yourself. Being able to network and effectively communicate with someone is the key to success. We will help participants understand why it’s important and how to improve at it.

Sales

The world is filled to the brim with options for every type of product and service you can imagine. From common and over saturated areas to areas that provide a response to needs you’d be shocked even have a place on the market.
Selling is the point in which money exchanges hands, so knowing how to make that happen is important regardless of what you want to sell.

Marketing

Being able to market a product is a key strategy that all businesses need to adopt regardless of what the product/service is. The research and theory that goes into marketing makes it a constantly evolving concept. Knowing the basics can help understand what’s possible.

E-commerce

Making a website is something you need a qualification or professional experience for… or is it? We show you how to produce and maintain the basics and explore a number of different platforms that are the backbone to online businesses.

Social Media

The business side of social media is so much more than scrolling through what your ‘social media friends’ are claiming to be up to right now. Businesses rely on social media now so knowing ‘the basics’ is essential to understanding ‘the why’.

Creative Writing

Product reviews, books of all genres, descriptions, blogs and even C.V’s are all very styles of writing but all are essential in different ways. We will explore the options and the people that make a living from writing.

Visual Concept

From photography to producing an eye-catching advert, what we see everywhere we look evokes a reaction.
It’s someone’s job to make that happen. We will explore how to start with the basics.

Networking and communication

Having a business or selling who you are and what you do doesn’t happen by accident or without investment of yourself. Being able to network and effectively communicate with someone is the key to success. We will help participants understand why it’s important and how to improve at it.

As well as specific chosen topics, there will be a broader range of classes on subjects that will be applicable to all jobs.

These include:

  • Budgeting
  • HMRC
  • Tax
  • Self-employment
  • Universal credit
  • Co-parenting information
  • Accounts and expenses
  • Declaring information
  • Accessing ongoing professional support
  • Co-parenting legal support
  • Maintaining contact and connections.
  • Sticking to routine and habits.
  • Continuing the journey.
  • Creation of lasting principles.
Money Management
  • Budgeting
  • HMRC
  • Tax
  • Self-employment
  • Universal credit
  • Co-parenting information
  • Accounts and expenses
Legal Support
  • Declaring information
  • Accessing ongoing professional support
  • Co-parenting legal support
Staying motivated and self-confident
  • Maintaining contact and connections.
  • Sticking to routine and habits.
  • Continuing the journey.
  • Creation of lasting principles.

Step 4: Reflect

Independent Mother is all about self-worth, valuing yourself and your achievements.
In order to do this, we believe you must be able to reflect on your progress.
This course will be the start of a journey for some or a boost for others.
Maintaining the healthy foundations and positive mind-set will be a challenge for many to continue on their own once they have left the comfort of this course.
At this point we bring the participants together in order to showcase all of the collective work and achievements.
We discuss the lessons learnt and make a plan for the future.
Holding one another accountable will be an important ongoing solution to solidifying this newly formed network of mothers.
Monthly ongoing top-up sessions will be a chance to monitor progress and revisit the sections of the program that may need refreshing or more guidance.

Reasons behind the project

Any project that has goals to unify and empower Mothers is needed. Now more than ever after the disruption of COVID, solutions need to be found in order to help ease the heightened feelings of isolation, anxiety and stress.

The Independent Mother project not only aims to reconnect Mothers with a sense of self but build a network of support that will last longer than just the length of the course.

Delivering resources and flexibility

Classes/lessons are recorded and worksheets provided in advance for those who are unable to attend or gain access to facilities.
We will be working with partnerships, charities and local authorities to ensure that those without access to technology are given support.
Mentors and volunteers will help support participants on a one-to-one basis with flexibility given on the location depending on the current safety guidelines.

Where will the project take place?

The project will be based on a model of home learning using zoom that will prepare provisions for group sessions and workshops if the current COVID restrictions allow for it.
Ideally physical sessions would take place in a number of accessible locations as the benefits of support in-person are enhanced away from distractions.
However, we appreciate that working from home allows for more flexibility and a chance for participants to create a workspace that they feel comfortable in long term.
If there are restrictions on numbers for those who prefer to take part on location then these will be allocated in a fair and alternate pre-booked system, with COVID checks in place to ensure the safety of all involved.
Follow-ups and one-to-ones will take place in local coffee shops or our offices that are accessible and safe for both the volunteer and the participants.

Who will be delivering the course?

Independent Mother founder, Zoe Chapman will be the main facilitator with the support of volunteers, mentors and trainers from specialised fields in order to deliver the topics on the programmes.
We will be working with local councils and authorities to ensure these courses can be delivered at no cost to the participants.