#AChanceToTrade for local women

Latifa, Sheila and Cindi get #AChanceToTrade

At The Millin Charity we have a real passion for helping women who are unemployed, and not really sure how to move forward, to discover enterprise as a route to learning new skills as well as also, possibly, as a way to become financially independent through self-employment.


Through our Local Women Local Enterprise learning and development programme local women are able to build the skills, local networks and, importantly, the experience they need to have the confidence to set up their own businesses. With the help of our crowdfunding campaign and some funds awarded through the Hadrian Trust we have been able to add to the trial trading experiences even further …

We are now the proud owners of our own market stall which local women can borrow to try out selling their own products and services as a pop-up trading experience, and for volunteer members of our Women’s Trading Collective the stall is completely free to use, so they can trial trade without worrying about the cost of hiring and insuring a stall themselves.

Latifa was first to use the stall in September, selling beautiful scarves and hijabs, and it was a great success – she said

“It was fantastic! My sales were way more than I’d expected – thanks to The Millin Charity I had the chance to give it a go!”

Sarah Miller explains “We’re so pleased we’ve been able to give women a chance to trade, because through having real trading experiences they can learn more about what customers want and test out their pricing, branding and product range – putting into practice the things they have learnt through our accredited training. This makes it much more likely that they’ll have the confidence to take that final step into self-employment to ‘go it alone’.”

A chance to offer your support and encouragement

At the moment women will be getting #AChanceToTrade every Wednesday lunchtime outside our centre on the Ground Floor of The Beacon, and we’re looking to local businesses, customers of The Beacon cafe and members of the local community to give the women their support and encouragement and, hopefully, to buy some of the wide range of products and services on offer.  You can see who’s having #AChanceToTrade on our What’s on calendar.

We’re also on the look-out for more busy locations to set up our stall around Newcastle and Gateshead in the near future, so if you know of the perfect place please let us know!

Handmade bunting for sale!

handmade crocheted bunting

We are so excited that our Women’s Trading Collective’s first range of products are now ready to buy.

Our member volunteers have worked tirelessly to produce beautifully hand crafted bunting – in both fabric and crocheted designs.

Handmade Shabby Chic Vintage Floral Bunting 2m / 9flags cotton

If you would like to support this inspiring group of women on their journey to financial independence please give your support through your purchases – you can buy the bunting on Etsy or direct from The Millin Charity.

The range includes:

Handmade fabric shabby chic penant bunting £9.50

Crocheted penant bunting in cotton in beautiful soft colours ideal for children’s bedrooms £15.00

Acrylic penant bunting to adorn your home, caravan or summer house £12.00

Pretty daisy chain bunting £4.50

Get in touch to find out more, to make your purchase or to place an order for your own personal design


Women’s Trading Collective launches!

Thanks to being able to secure further funding from Big Lotteries Reaching Communities, we are so pleased to be able to launch our brand new Women’s Trading Collective, a community enterprise project which is led by women volunteers living in the West End of Newcastle, supported by an experienced woman-only project team at The Millin Charity.

The Women’s Trading Collective project has been set up for unemployed women who have an interest in enterprise and self-employment – whether they have a business idea or not. Women who are eligible to become a member can offer their time to volunteer to make an exciting new community business a real success story, while they gain the confidence, skills, knowledge and ideas they need to get their own business off the ground.

Through becoming a Member Volunteer for the Women’s Trading Collective, local women can:

  • Become more confident of being able to earn an income through self-employment or employment, so they can make a positive difference to your own and your family’s lives;
  • Develop their enterprise skills and knowledge through accessible, women-only workshops and training courses, many of which are accredited and can lead to a formal qualification;
  • Get involved in all aspects of running a community business, to gain the real life enterprise experience they need to successfully work for themselves;
  • Meet new people, make friends and contacts in the local community, to avoid needing to ‘go it alone’ if they become self-employed;
  • Get introductions to lots of sources of support and advice that are available in the local area, to help women to move forward in many aspects of their lives.

We hope to support 450 women during the 3 year project, and over 20 women have already joined. Their first project is to design, plan, cost, market and sell some lovely fabric and crocheted bunting on a market stall at Gibside in July, developing new skills in how to plan and launch a business while they volunteer.

The formative members of the Women’s Trading Collective are pictured here with their very first bunting that was made with the help of local entrepreneur Shehla xxx who runs her dress design and tailoring business at The Beacon, where The Millin Charity relocated to in December last year.

If you would like to join the Women’s Trading Collective, or would like to find out more about the project, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch

Over 450 women will be supported through the Women’s Trading Collective over the next 3 years, and help the collective to become a successful and sustainable community enterprise in the West End of Newcastle.

A successful pilot in Gateshead!

With support from Gateshead Council and Big Lottery, and newly established partners in local support organisations including the Jewish Community Council of Gateshead, the Comfrey Project and Tyneside Women’s Health, we are proud to have almost completed our first pilot project to roll out Local Women Local Enterprise Learning and Development Programme into Gateshead, and to announce that the project was a huge success all round.

During a relatively short time since last Autumn, 57 women have participated in the pilot project, getting involved in ‘Let’s Get Creative’ workshops, ‘Have a Go at Enterprise’ and ‘Going to Market’ courses, pop-up trading stalls, and a fantastic Spring Craft Fair held at the Comfrey Project.

We’re now really excited about our final event which will be to support Gateshead women to sell their own products and services at a Summer Craft Market at The Comfrey Project in Gateshead on Sunday 16th July.

Women who have participated in the pilot have already made some amazing progress, with one having already started a business and 10 more in the process of setting up. Two women have also found employment after being economically inactive for quite some time, and many are now actively pursuing further training opportunities. Everyone involved has said that the project has made a real difference to their confidence, their social networks and their understanding of how self-employment could make a difference to their lives.

Success of the pilot is also evident through the increasing demand for us to continue to work in Gateshead in the future, and from the positive feedback we’ve had from our partners, confirming that Local Women Local Enterprise fills a gap in the local area and that it’s a valuable resource that would continue to make a difference in the future if the pilot was to continue.

Watch this space as we look for ways to fund Local Women Local Enterprise learning and development services in Gateshead in the future!

“Attending the ‘Have a Go at Enterprise’ course made me think about pushing for my goals and taking the plunge to go for them. I’ve now started my own business!”

Mum of 3, Gateshead

Love your Lanes makes a difference to the West End

The Millin Charity has joined forces with a group of community organisations in the West End of Newcastle to deliver the ‘Love your Lanes’ project.  Supported through grants from the Leaf Environment Fund and the Greggs Foundation, the project has involved the charity consulting with local people getting their ideas about how to improve the terraces area, then encouraging residents to get involved in making their ideas happen.

People have really rolled their sleeves up and got in touch with their creative sides to make this a fantastic local project. Activities have included:

  • Learning woodworking skills to transform old pallets into outside seats and benches;
  • Making planters and learning about gardening, using recycled containers;
  • Litter picking to clear rubbish from around the terraces;
  • Painting gates and garage doors in back lanes to brighten up the area.

This has been a great local initiative with lots of community involvement, providing plenty of opportunities for local residents and their families to work on a collective project while they make improvements to the place they live.