Self esteem workshops for Suffolk girls launched

Katy Forrester is the self esteem coordinator for PHOEBE

Katy Forrester is the self esteem coordinator for PHOEBE - Credit: Katy Forrester

Suffolk girls are being taught how to appreciate themselves, have positive relationships with food and learn about societal beauty standards as part of a self esteem project. 

Ipswich charity PHOEBE (Promotion of Health, Opportunity, Equality, Benevolence and Empowerment) is hosting workshops for girls aged five to 19 in its Suffolk Girls Self Esteem Project.

A study by Healthwatch in early 2020 revealed young people in Suffolk have lower self esteem than the national average and 58% of girls worried about their body image most, or all, of the time.

Another report showed many girls don't know how to keep emotionally well in Suffolk or what services are available to them.

PHOEBE has received funding from UK Youth, BBC Children in Need and the National Lottery Community Fund to provide 10 weeks of workshops with local schools and organisations.

Katy Forrester, self esteem coordinator for the charity, said: "Low self esteem is such a prominent issue among young girls today, and the effects can be so detrimental.

"We want to challenge the high societal standards that face young girls daily and remove the pressure they feel to be ‘perfect’.

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"The workshops will give young girls the opportunity to learn to, not only accept who they are, but to celebrate it."

Feedback from parents and teachers has shown the workshops have already had a positive impact on the behaviour of participants and noticed the girls became more self-aware, engaged in school activities, and supportive toward their peers.

Sessions focus on different topics such as how society defines beauty, activities that celebrate the girls’ individuality, how low self-esteem can have a detrimental effect on an individual's welfare and the importance of having a positive relationship with exercise and food.

Ingrid Malo is a domestic violence advocate for PHOEBE

Ingrid Malo is a domestic violence advocate for PHOEBE - Credit: Ingrid Malo

Ingrid Malo is a domestic violence advocate for PHOEBE and added: "Teaching girls about self esteem from a young age means that they can grow up feeling confident and sure of themselves.

"It means teaching them to believe in themselves so that they can survive in a world that can be so unkind.

"Self esteem means trusting your abilities to succeed in everything you put your mind to. And that is how little girls can grow up and one day make a positive difference to society."

Bushra Shehzad is the self esteem facilitator for PHOEBE

Bushra Shehzad is the self esteem facilitator for PHOEBE and says high self esteem is the essence of uniqueness in every young girl - Credit: Bushra Shehzad

Here's some feedback from girls who've taken part in the workshops so far:

  • “I liked everything because I used to be so sad and I now don’t cry as much."
  • “I never cry here and telling other people about your feelings is good.”
  • “I realise that nobody is perfect. You are you. I like that I can see my friends.”
  • “It’s made me more confident and all the girls can get together.”
  • “I like that it helps us stand up for myself! And we have really good fun and we have drinks and snacks! Also, we talk about things!”

For more information, or to register for the workshops email self-esteem@phoebecentre.org.uk or call 01473 231 566.

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