Soul Purpose 360 is a national Black Women’s empowerment social enterprise. Our mission is to motivate, inspire and imbue confidence in women to enable them to contribute positively to their communities through their own personal growth. We do this by blending personal development with community development.
Established to coach and mentor a handful of clients at a time, the social enterprise now hosts the national Black women’s networking and empowerment circle, with more than 500 members across the UK. All this through word-of-mouth recommendation. We are clearly in demand.
Why? Irrespective of social status, profession or class, Black women face a myriad of daily obstacles and challenges in our lives.
When we aren’t dealing with microaggressions from colleagues, we are curtailed by the systemic discrimination that is implemented through policies and procedures in our workplaces and all other areas that govern our lives – education, health, law enforcement.
Black women are affected by the gender/race pay gap, and we also experience health inequalities: Black women and babies face a greater risk of death in maternity care. If that wasn’t enough, we are at risk of gender-based violence and experience intercultural disadvantage in the form of customs, beliefs, religious ideology and more.
Black women living in social housing are hardest hit by the cost of living crisis, and are therefore at greater risk of poverty, social isolation and mental health issues.
Our Empowered Me! programme was curated specifically for Black women living in social housing – many of whom are the most socially isolated and impacted by a multitude of isms. The programme is delivering impact beyond our expectations. Women have reported improved mental and physical health, increased self-confidence, reduction in isolation and much, much more.
Empowering Black women improves their personal relationships and reduces incidences of domestic violence and abuse. It leads to better parenting and improved children’s behaviour and attitudes towards education, and can lead to a reduction in youth-related anti-social behaviour.
One client told us: “Empowered Me! has helped my relationship to grow stronger. My partner and I talk more, and we are getting on better. I am better able to express my feelings and emotions in a healthier way. Previous traumas meant that my reactions were toxic. Before the course, I was doubting myself as a mother – ‘I was not good enough/the right kind of mother’.
Today, I am more comfortable and confident. My daughter is more relaxed.”
But it is not only Empowered Me! clients who are benefiting. The NHS, local health services, landlords, the wider community and voluntary organisations also benefit from increased engagement and reduced demand on services and cost.
“The programme is delivering impact beyond our expectations. Women have reported improved mental and physical health, increased self-confidence, reduction in isolation and much, much more”
One client said: “I feel that for the first time, someone has taken me seriously, believing in me.
The challenge is [that] living with a limiting illness, there is no support for someone on Employment and Support Allowance, but [for] those on Jobseeker’s Allowance there is. I want to get off ESA to become independent and develop the confidence to manage my health problems.”
Responsible and responsive social housing providers must reassess how they perceive Black women residents and the support they offer. No more one-dimensional projects, but services that support Black women residents in the way that acknowledges the multiple challenges they face.
Empowering Black women is more than a ‘nice thing to do’. Black women are at the heart of communities, so when you support Black women, you support a whole community.
Palma Black, chief executive, Soul Purpose 360