The ‘Marvellous Mums, Marvellous Me’ programme supports local, less socially advantaged women, many of whom have been out of work for some time. It’s building women’s confidence and self-esteem and empowering them to make changes that will help them develop more fulfilling lives for themselves and for their families.

With increased confidence, we can develop personal goals and ambitions that can help us provide strong role models for our children. Professor Fuller, from the University’s Institute of Education has developed a successful, supportive programme to give local, less socially advantaged women and parents the confidence they need to realise their own potential.

Women taking part follow a ten-week programme designed to develop their confidence in all areas of their lives, from personal goal setting and reflection to community involvement, with social and cultural outings. The programme was designed in partnership with a variety of local organisations and has helped develop trust between the University and the local community.

The partnership also extends to participants who help in the programme’s design; a virtuous circle that has led to many individual successes. Increased confidence has seen one participant join the Prince’s Trust and another establish an Etsy shop. Since completing the programme, others have felt confident enough to speak at public events, return to work, leave destructive relationships, start college or enrol in weight loss programmes.

And the scheme is set to flourish – Professor Fuller is now working with a local MP and the Department for Work and Pensions to extend Marvellous Mums beyond Reading and help women across the UK to meet their potential.

Team: Carol Fuller, Maria Danos and Trisha Bennett

Partners: Whitley Community Development Association

Judges’ comment: “Great local engagement with good buy-in from participants and local services.”

Shortlisted for the University Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2019

First published: June 2019