Marvellous initiative creating ‘brighter future’ for Reading mums
Release Date 01 June 2018
Mums in Reading have shared their stories of success after taking part in an initiative aimed at improving their self confidence and prospects.A total of 15 mothers were joined by their families at a celebration event at the University’s London Road campus on Tuesday (29 May), where they were presented with certificates by Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell for completing the Marvellous Mums course.
The scheme, led by the University of Reading and Whitley Community Development Association (WCDA), aims to tackle social inequality by building confidence among mothers in the Whitley area of Reading, as well as offering some employability skills sessions.
Shamyla Amjad, 29, has used the confidence gained from the course to complete a Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and start her own jewellery business. She said: “I’m very excited and looking forward to a brighter future for me and my family. I’ve enjoyed attending the Marvellous Mums Unite programme. It’s been so inspiring and fabulous to attend.”
The 10-week Marvellous Mums course is supported by WCDA, HomeStart Reading and Workday. Participants meet weekly in Whitley Community Centre Café to discuss challenges they face and ways to overcome these, such as by engaging with local government or charities. Those struggling with unemployment are also put in touch with local employers.
Dr Carol Fuller at University of Reading’s Institute of Education, who leads the Marvellous Mums course along with colleague Dr Maria Danos, said: “We are proud of all the women who completed our first ever Marvellous Mums course, and pleased to see the success they are achieving as a result. This is one of several schemes we have introduced to equip people with the skills and confidence they need to make positive differences in their lives. Doing this allows them to change their own story, and ideally that of the community as a whole.
“The effectiveness of the course was demonstrated by the fact we had a zero drop-out rate, and some of the mums have expressed an interest in returning as mentors to help future recruits.”
Full testimonies from mothers who attended the course
"I came to the programme as I was very devastated and stressed. I needed someone to talk to, build my confidence, meet new people and not to be isolated by myself. Now I can proudly say I gained self confidence" - Adama Jatta Camara
Shamyla Amjad, age 29
I came on this course to help me get my confidence back and to decide what to do for my future. So from attending the Marvellous Mums programme, which was for 10 weeks, was amazing for me and Carol has been my inspiration. She's superwoman, always full of wonderful ideas and she's been a great support and help for me. I have just recently completed the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and submitted my business plan which was successful. I'm now in the process of starting my own jewellery business. I’m very excited and looking forward to a brighter future for me and my family. I’ve enjoyed attending the Marvellous Mums programme. It’s been so inspiring and fabulous to attend and all the other mums yet to come will enjoy the mums programmes as all us mums enjoyed doing.
Adama Jatta Camara, age 30
I came to the programme as I was very devastated and stressed. I needed someone to talk to, build my confidence, meet new people and not to be isolated by myself. Now I can proudly say I gained self confidence, feel loved by Marvellous Mums, learned so many things from wonderful ladies like Carol, Maria etc. They inspired me a lot. I used to think that I couldn't achieve my goals but after attending the 10-week course I know that I can achieve anything that I want to achieve. I need to have the confidence and be strong.
Larissa Wiggins, age 28
I started this course because I was at a very low point in my life and a lot of issues going on. Even though I have my daughter and partner, I felt that I didn’t really have much for myself. Since joining this course, I’ve gained so much. It’s helped my relationship with my partner we have got a lot closer and are more happy. I’ve learnt more about who I am as a person and that there’s whole wide world out there for me to see and try new things. I know my worth and that I can do anything that I want to do if I just try hard enough. I’ve met some amazing people on this journey and some friends for life. I’ve gained so much confidence and feel so much happier within myself. Carol and Maria have done such an amazing thing for mums like us. I wake up every morning happy and knowing that I CAN do it no such thing as CANT DO IT.
Jennie Ashworth, age 35
I always worked around my kids. Mental health problems three years ago left me less secure in my abilities. HomeStart have help me rebuild, and introduced me to Marvellous Mums who have inspired me to chase my dreams and apply for jobs I wouldn't have considered before.