Michelle is on a mission to empower borough's 'amazing' young women

Michelle Roberts who runs the Rise Up group for young women in RotherhamMichelle Roberts who runs the Rise Up group for young women in Rotherham
Michelle Roberts who runs the Rise Up group for young women in Rotherham
A YOUTH group leader on a mission to empower the borough's “amazing” young women is encouraging others to get involved in the community safe space.

Michelle Roberts (48) runs the Rise Up Young Women's Personal Development Group for girls aged 14-21 to improve their confidence and self-esteem, gain qualifications, and keep themselves safe.

The group, which meets every Monday evening at the community space at Tesco on Drummond Street in Rotherham town centre, was initially under the funding of Michelle's former employer but she now runs the group independently in the community.

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Between six and nine girls attend the sessions and can study for entry-level qualifications – accredited by independent education charity AQA – to support their CVs.

“The group is the only one of its kind in the region and we focus on building self-esteem and confidence in our amazing young women,” said Michelle.

“We aim to empower them to make positive life choices and provide a safe space to explore and navigate the complexities of transitioning to adulthood.

“Each session we share our personal stories and we have a subject that we talk about, too – a recent theme was identifying red flags in relationships.

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“We also invite guest speakers with lived experiences to share their stories on subjects such as county lines exploitation and CSE (child sexual exploitation).

“One of our members, who was being bullied at school, came to us a year ago and has gone from strength to strength.

“She's now done a mentoring qualification and so helps to mentor the other younger members now.

“Some of the girls who join us were previously socially excluded.

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“One of our members joined us after hearing about the group and it was the first time she had left the house and done anything socially for a long time.

“But she found it to be a rewarding experience and now joins us every week, so I am keen to encourage others to come along as am sure there are many other girls out there who would benefit.

“I am also trying to raise awareness of our group in order to attract potential partnerships and funding opportunities.”

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