A programme is helping raise the self esteem of vulnerable young women at a Potteries college, so they can avoid abusive relationships.
Previously, North Staffordshire charity Arch's Girl Power course had only been available for high school children.
But with intimate violence the highest among younger age groups, particularly those aged between 16 and 19, they have been working with seven girls as a pilot at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College.
Having seen a link with low self-esteem and vulnerability, the course aims to improve confidence as a form of preventative intervention.
Topics covered have included consent, awareness of unhealthy behaviours, life goals, and what makes a positive relationship.
The group of seven young women experienced weekly two-hour sessions run by members of the Arch team.
Learning Support Assistant Camilla Jameson, who initiated the collaboration, said: “We were aware that the age of our students makes them statistically more likely to experience abusive relationships. To maximise the College’s support network we reached out to Arch whose work in the area is highly regarded.”
“The young women who participated have drastically improved their self-confidence and resilience, which is great to see.”
A student who participated said “I feel more comfortable in myself and how I look and feel more confident in myself”
Another student said “It helped me to have a better understanding of abuse in relationships and gave me the strength to end a relationship that had the potential to go this way as a result.”
Following on from the success of the pilot, the College is now planning to run more courses - with girls even coming forward to ask to be involved.
Arch are also securing funding to expand their delivery of the programme across the city, and run programmes for male students.