Meet inspiring mum ‘trying to make Ipswich the best place to be a woman in Suffolk’
- Credit: Archant
As a young mum, Kim Trotter felt the joys of giving birth to her son were tempered with the sadness of isolation and loneliness.
Like many people in her situation, she found herself spending long periods at home, often cut off from other adult contact and seemingly disconnected from the rest of the world.
For Kim, the "days without speaking to anyone" led to depression during what should be one of the happiest moments of a parent's life.
But realising that other mums must feel the same, she inspiringly took it upon herself to do something that would help others experiencing a similar situation.
With her 19-year-old younger self in mind, she designed an uplifting series of sessions in Ipswich called More Than Mum - so mothers could meet inspirational and professional women from a variety of backgrounds.
The free 10-week course, held during school times, is designed to boost mums' confidence by showing them what is possible and giving them a chance to meet others in similar scenarios.
They even 'graduate' at the end, giving them something to show potential employers as they aim to get back into the world of work, education or training.
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It is all part of Kim's vision of "trying to make Ipswich the best place to be a woman in Suffolk" under the banner of the Future Female Society, which she set up to help women in Suffolk's waterfront town build their confidence.
Some mums said the More Than Mum programme "changed my entire outlook on life" - but difficulties finding funding meant the project suffered a setback.
Now the vital project has now been given a new lease of life with fresh funding, Kim hopes to help change mums' lives for the better in Ipswich.
"The programme is designed to work with young mums by combatting isolation and helping them to move forward to work, education or training," she said.
"I was a young mum - I was 19 when I had my son.
"I felt extremely isolated and very lonely and I got quite depressed. There were things going on that I didn't feel I could access.
"I could go days without speaking to anyone. You start to spiral and you're not able to be as a good a parent as you want to be.
"So I designed a programme with 19-year-old me in mind.
"When people become a mum, it can be a massive shock.
"You leave a job and your friends and most women find it challenging if they're a single parent.
"Young mums are actually some of the most isolated. Loneliness can impact on everything else, such as confidence and mental health."
She is keen to stress the course is not like going to school - participants don't go through a workbook, for example.
But there are sessions on topics such as communication and problem-solving, with many female role models who have been young mums brought in to talk about their experiences.
"It's more about relationship-building," she said.
"I am trying to make Ipswich the best place to be a woman in Suffolk and really raise the aspirations amongst women and girls," she said.
Funding for the project comes from the LIFT (Local Investment in Learning Paths to Work) project and the European Union's European Social Fund.
It is also supported by Norfolk and Suffolk county councils.
The Future Female Society has pledged to "take practical steps to raise aspirations and combat under-achievement to support and cultivate women who will assist each other".
The organisation's website adds: "Through our specifically adapted programmes we develop essential life/work skills such as communication and presentation.
"Alongside we develop participants' confidence and self-belief."
For more information about More Than Mum and other Future Female Society projects, visit this website or call 07498 739459.
Alternatively email here.