Supporting the next generation: How one organisation is empowering young women in West Yorkshire

A community project in Kirklees is using money previously associated with criminal activities to empower and build the confidence of young women in the district.

20th January 2023

A community project in Kirklees is using money previously associated with criminal activities to empower and build the confidence of young women in the district.

Conscious Youth, an organisation that supports young people in some of Kirklees’ most deprived neighbourhoods, received £6,000 from the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin’s, Safer Communities Fund.

The Mayor’s fund directs money recovered by police and prosecutors from criminal activities, and pumps it into community projects that are making West Yorkshire safer.

Since 2016, Conscious Youth has supported over 9,000 young people through workshops, youth events, self-development programmes, and more.

As one of the latest beneficiaries of the fund, their grant from Mayor Brabin has been channelled into their innovative project, Conscious Girls, a youth programme aiming to improve the mental and emotional resilience of young women aged 12-16.

The programme delivers life-skills and confidence building sessions to attendees on topics including self-care, sexual and domestic abuse awareness, financial literacy, and consent.

Today (Friday 20 January), West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE, visited Conscious Youth to find out more about how the organisation and the project is making a difference to girls in local communities.

Deputy Mayor Lowe said:

“Both the Mayor and I are absolutely committed to keeping women and girls safe in West Yorkshire.

“To do so, we need to work with organisations and communities across our region. This includes supporting the next generation of young women, giving them the tools and confidence to thrive.

“It is fantastic that the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund has taken money recovered by West Yorkshire Police from criminals and used it to help Conscious Youth expand and reach more young people in Kirklees.”

Sophie Simpson, Conscious Youth’s Co-Founder and Director of Operations, said:

“The funding that we have received from the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund has supported us in expanding our Conscious Girls Provision.

“Through Conscious Girls we are aiming to empower and uplift young women by encouraging them to take part in workshops focusing on important issues for their personal safety and wellbeing.

“This has now led onto the successful launch of our Friday Hangout. This is a safe space that young people from 12-17 years old who are able to drop in, eat and socialise with other young people from across Kirklees.”

In 2022, the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund directed over £354,000 into 67 women and girls’ projects, impacting more than 20,000 people in West Yorkshire.

Other funded projects working with girls and young women include Tender Education and Arts, who used their funding to deliver a healthy relationships programme at a secondary school in Bradford, and Friends of Honley who are using their funding to support teenage girls in Kirklees through workshops on online safety, healthy relationships, and bullying.

Find out more about Conscious Youth and their services on their website.