International Women’s Day: A celebration of progress and a call to invest in women

March 8, 2024

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Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). Held on 8 March every year, it celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day is also used as a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

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This year’s theme is ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’. Here at Livv, investing in our people and our communities is one of our biggest priorities. From ensuring our customers receive the right support, to supporting our colleagues to excel in their careers – we’re focused on helping people to thrive.

Today, we wanted to share some stories of how Livv invests in women from around our borough and in our business, and introduce you to some really inspiring women along the way!

Debi O’Shea, Livv customer and Chairwoman of Northwood Together

“I’ve been involved with Livv as a customer and as a participating team leader in the Healthy Lifestyle Choices programme run by Northwood Together and part funded by Livv. I also attend coffee mornings with Livv colleagues due to me being chairwoman for Northwood Together.

“The Healthy Lifestyle Choices programme has helped me massively; it’s helped me lose weight and gain confidence.

“Livv has also helped me as a customer through their fuel voucher programme.

“The challenge I’m most proud of overcoming is going from not even wanting to live in Kirkby after moving here when I was younger, to becoming chairwoman for Northwood Together, working with Livv and other partners and doing all we do in the community. I’m now proud to live here!”

“My 16 year old daughter inspires me everyday. She’s faced so many challenges in her life from a young age and she always deals with them with such grace and a positive attitude. She excels in school she was the youngest person to be awarded the good citizen award at 7 years of age. She was chair for school council in primary school and a scholar for her secondary school. She’s incredibly motivated, and up every morning at 6 to work for two hours before school and never complains. There’s so much more I could say but I’ll be here all day, so basically everything about her inspires me to carry on being the woman I am and the mother I am.

“My advice for young women would be always believe in yourself, and be confident that you can achieve everything you want to achieve.”

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Rhiannon Canavan, Project Manager at L14 Community House

“We have always worked with Livv through a lot of different community projects, however the last three years we have worked a lot more with the organisation through the employment courses, digital project and community projects.

“The support that we have received from Livv is beyond belief and honestly, has helped our community so much. By funding employment courses, it has opened so many doors for our people and A LOT of our community have gained full time employment. This means so much to us. It has been so nice to see many people, especially young people, turn their life around.”

“It has helped people go from homeless to making a lovely little home around themselves. Livv has had a massive impact on our community in a positive way and we are so grateful.

“In terms of facing my own challenges, I am most proud that I finally learned the confidence to speak up in meetings when that was something I really used to struggle with. I used to sit and be very reserved, now if I feel I have something to say I do say it now.

“I know this is cheesy but honestly my Mum is the most inspiring woman in my life! She literally is the caring and loving lady ever and I feel them ways will carry you far life.

“My one piece of advice to young women is to be confident in yourself and just get up and have a go, and never stop learning because life never stops teaching!”

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Jo Kneale, Head of Business Improvement at Livv

“I started out in travel with grand plans to see the world but quickly realised I was too much of a home girl to do that.

“I’d grown up knowing about social housing, having family work in the sector and living in it for a stint and this attracted me to the sector.

“I found my route in back when KHT opened its own contact centre in 2007. Working in the contact centre gave me a great understanding of our organisation and all the services we provide. It was my springboard for the other roles I’ve held.

“I’ve had some amazing opportunities at Livv, working in different roles across different teams, customer facing, commercial and back office. Each role has enabled me to continually learn and grow which I love.”

“The things that makes me most proud to work here are Livv’s purpose, its people and the support given to help individuals develop.

“I find that I often get struck by imposter syndrome – unfortunately, I can’t imagine I’m the only one. Getting over my own self-doubt continues to be a challenge I battle with.

“So many women inspire me, when they go for their goals, push themselves out of their comfort zones, show their authentic selves. But the biggest inspiration has got to be when women support women!

“I’m currently reading The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett, which says we should fill 5 buckets. Two of these are knowledge and skills. My advice to young women starting out in their careers would be to continually build your knowledge and develop your skills. And have fun along the way!”

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Vicky Williamson, Livving in our community

“I’ve been involved with Livv through their funding of the Northwood Together Healthy Lifestyle Choices programme. After being a part of the first round I was asked by Northwood Together to be a team leader. I absolutely loved my new role; it was amazing to see so many people progress and change their lives. Seeing how much they have grown in confidence, how their health improved and also the massive improvement in their mental health – for some people I believe Shapeshifters has been a much-needed lifeline.

“Another example of working with Livv in our community is their funding of coffee afternoons for carers of people with special educational needs (SEN). My friend’s son is severely disabled so she knew first-hand that there was little support out there. We decided on a coffee afternoon to provide a safe place for carers to have a cuppa and chat with people who know how hard things can be. We provide fun activities and sessions, conversation and advice to anyone who wanted to attend. We are grateful to Livv for funding these, they are still as popular as ever and provide much needed interaction for carers.

“I’m most proud that with the help of my good friends at Northwood Together, who would never let me give up even through my hardest times, that I have I vastly improved my mental health to finally get the courage and confidence to do my Level 2 Teaching Assistant qualification. With an excellent tutor I passed in 6 months and within weeks went on to full time employment in a local primary school with fabulous staff and pupils.

“I really can’t name just one woman who inspires me the most. Every single woman in my life is amazing – each woman is fighting their own battles and every single day they stand up and fight again. From my own daughters, mum, sister, niece and all my friends – they are the true inspiration.

“My advice to young women is don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you can’t do something. You can do anything you could ever want and more. Just believe in yourself.”