New scheme offers some sisterly help

Lisa Read with students from King Ecgbert School
Lisa Read with students from King Ecgbert School
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life coach Lisa Read has made it her mission to give teenage girls in Sheffield a boost.

With the help of The Big Sister Project – a pilot scheme launching in the city early next year – she plans to tackle lack of confidence and low self-esteem.

Lisa said: “Society pressures to be beautiful and socially ‘normal’ are higher than ever right now.

“The project teaches girls to recognise their strengths, as well as trying to identify what is holding them back.”

The mum-of-three will provide support, coaching and mentoring girls in Sheffield through the project, in collaboration with their schools.

The scheme is the brainchild of Girls Out Loud, a UK-wide social enterprise devised by former BBC The Apprentice finalist Claire Young.

Lisa said: “On average, it’s proven Sheffield girls achieve GCSE results 10 points lower than national averages and our rates of teenage pregnancy are in the top third of highest rates in local authorities.

“Confidence and self-esteem play a role in how young girls react to their surroundings and whether or not they achieve their full potential.

“We aim to inspire young women to believe in themselves and what they can do.”

The 36-year-old, of Woodseats, said: “This project is close to my heart, as my own teen years were difficult.

“I suffered with low self-esteem and struggled with my weight too, which didn’t help.

“I was eventually diagnosed with depression when I was 19 and spent my early twenties overcoming this. What I gained was the perspective and skills to learn how to be confident and happy.”

Lisa, a qualified primary school teacher and life coach, will launch the project – involving workshops and activities – at Meadowhead School, before moving to other schools in the area.

She has already run some of these sessions locally in preparation for the project.

Ella Johnson, a Year 11 student at King Ecgbert School in Dore, who attended one of the sessions, said: “It gave me some great ideas for motivating myself.”

Becs McCairns, the school’s acting head of sixth form, said: The session was a superb opportunity to think about confidence and goals.

“The activities nurtured the students so they felt confident to talk and reflect.”

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