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We were blown away by last week’s response to our first Focused Networking Event of 2020: Inspiring Women. With International Women’s Day on the horizon, this was the perfect opportunity for local organisations to come together to celebrate and showcase a range of North East projects by and for women.

The event was fully booked and with well over a hundred delegates, speakers and exhibitors, there was a supportive, passionate and motivating atmosphere in the room that is difficult to capture in pictures and words.

Many, including our own team, came away feeling truly inspired and it’s easy to see why when you look at the tweets and Facebook posts under #InspiringWomenNE that offer a glimpse of what the talented speakers had to say.

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A brief roundup

The first half, opened by the brilliant musician, Martha Hill, welcomed four speakers each covering difficult but important subjects; a moving poem from a young woman called Poppy captured the first hand experiences of those supported by the Young Women’s Outreach Project in Gateshead; Margie from Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland highlighted the shockingly hidden issues of sexual violence against older women; Ellie from Open Clasp Theatre Company offered a preview from their latest production, Sugar, by women who are homeless, on probation or in prison; and Nathalie and Helen from Smart Works Newcastle shared personal and emotional stories around how they have supported women to re-enter the workplace in confidence.

A break to explore the ‘marketplace’ gave everyone a chance to network and learn about what’s going on in our region from some 30 different organisations.

Martha Hill performed another song and kicked-off the second half of the afternoon with exciting news of an upcoming music festival, Women are Mint, that she curated to celebrate local female talent. We heard from Changing Lives GAP MAP outreach project that supports women (17+) who are involved in sex work or at risk of being sexually exploited. Katie from Activate Collective delivered a motivating talk about their work to bring more women into positions of political power that reflects the diversity of our society, and explained how you can help to support women standing for election in May.

Keeping up the pace of the afternoon was effortless for our final speakers Tessy and Morgan - Youth Parliament representatives from Newcastle Youth Council. With contagious passion and energy they spoke of their experiences in politics and why we need more diversity and more women in power.

“I will use my words and intellect to fight for a brighter future”

We couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon so we must say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make this such a memorable event.

Look out for more Focused Networking Events on our events and training page



Photos by Sadaf Chezari

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