Defining Me – Tampon Tax

This project was funded by Heart of England Community Foundation on application to the Tampon Tax Community Grant Programme

What is it and who is it for?

The Tampon Tax Fund provides funding to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls and we were funded to deliver our programme Defining Me. The programme builds resilience, confidence, and improves self-esteem. The intended outcome is to positively impact the lives of the participants who in this case were  two cohorts of Year 9 girls (aged 13-15 years) at two Secondary Schools in Wolverhampton.

What we did

As with many of our successful programmes, we utilised elements of our Safe Hands core programme and developed and delivered 6 bespoke one and a half hour workshops which were designed to meet the needs of the 24 girls (based on their biographies and knowledge of the issues in both schools e.g. use of social media and in the locality e.g. community safety etc).

Over 12 weeks we used a range of creative and interactive techniques to support the girls to unpack issues relevant to them covering subjects such as choices and the consequences of choices e.g. “would you take something that did not belong to you?”, relationships, self-esteem and self-confidence amongst other things.

Each girl received a journal to capture the things that were important to them e.g. feelings, worries and concerns etc.  We also asked the girls to use the journals as an extension to the workshops e.g. looking at ambitions and aspirations and building pathways to their future careers – what did they need to know? who did they need to speak to? what help did they need? They could then share this with us (if they wanted to) so that we could help them develop their ideas further or provide help if need be. The journals were the private property of the girls, there was no pressure from us for them to share the contents though many of them chose to which provided opportunities for 1-2-1 or group discussions depending on the consent of girl(s) sharing.

At the beginning of the programme some of the girls were quiet, others suspicious about their involvement and what we would do with the information gathered throughout our sessions. However, as we gained their trust and provided informal, fun activities they engaged fully and did not want the sessions or the programme to end. They were very complimentary about the programme which provided opportunities for them to think and talk about issues relevant to them but which they did not get the opportunity to discuss in detail in such a way that challenged them and changed their thinking through peer and self-regulation.