International Women's Day / Diwrnod Rhyngwladol y Merched

International Women’s Day is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the amazing contribution of women leaders. There are so many inspiring examples of powerful women leaders at TCC! 

“We could be pioneers for this change in Wales. We are taking this seriously and we would like to leave a legacy for the coming generations.” 

 

“Just don’t give up. Be determined. You have the power inside yourselves.”  

Mae Diwrnod Rhyngwladol  Menywod yn gyfle gwych i ni ddathlu cyfraniad rhyfeddol pob arweinydd o ferch. Mae cynifer o esiamplau ysbrydoledi gan TCC o wragedd grymus sy’n arwain!

 

“Gallem fod yn arweinwyr blaengar dros y newid hwn yng Nghymru. Rydym yn cymryd y peth o ddifrif a hoffem adael gwaddol ar gyfer y cenedlaethau i ddod.” 

“Peidiwch â rhoi fyny.  Byddwch yn benderfynol.  Mae gennych y grym ynoch eich hunain” 

Nia Higginbotham, founder of TCC

Check out this short interview with TCC’s founder, Nia Higginbotham. Nia set up TCC 25 years ago and has words of wisdom to share from her quarter century of community organising. Click here.

 

Edrychwch ar y cyfweliad byr yma gda Sylfaenydd TCC, Nia Higginbotham. Sylfaenodd Nia TCC 25 mlynedd yn ol ac mae ganddi eiriau doeth i'w rhannu wedi chwarter canrif o'i gwaith trefnu cymunedol.

Menna Davies, TCC community leader

Check out this short interview with TCC member, Menna Davies. Click here.

Edrychwch ar y cyfweliad byr yma gyda aelod TCC, Menna Davies.

Masuma, Nadege, Niloha, Yasmin, TCC community leaders

Niloha, Yasmin, Masuma, and Nadege are working to make Wrexham a Town of Sanctuary: “We are trying to amplify our voices from our lived experiences related to the right to work (the Lift the Ban campaign), housing, and other issues that we can face.” Click here to read the full interview.

Mae Niloha, Yasmin, Masuma a Nadege yn gweithio i wneud Wrecsam yn Dref Noddfa: "Rydym yn codi'n llaid o'n profiad o fyw gyda'r materion sy'n effeithio ar ein hawl i weithio (yr ymgyrch Lift the Ban), a'r materion eraill sy'n ein hwynebu.

Kay Polley and Sam Rex-Edwards, lead community organisers

Learn about Kay and Sam's experience of job-sharing at a senior level. They encourage leaders and organisations to be brave. For the video, click here.

Edrychwch ar y cyfweliad byr yma gyda Prif arweinyddion TCC, Kay Polley a Sam-Rex Edwards. Mae Kay a Sam yn rhannu eu profiad o rannu swydd ar lefel uwch ac yn annog arwein wyr a mudiadau eraill i fod yn ddewr.

TCC Young Leaders

We asked some of our young leaders what leadership means

to them.

What does being a leader mean to you, Ocea? A leader is someone who takes charge.

Tell us about how you made/are making change in your community? I am working with TCC to target problems I or other people experience and come up with a solution that benefits everyone.

What advice would you give to young women who want to use their power for change? Do it. Don’t let anyone stop you, do what you want.

What does being a leader mean to you, Emma? When you become in charge and can command people within reason.

Tell us about how you made/are making change sin your community? I have been working with TCC for a while and we are coming up with stuff to try and tackle problems as best as we can.

What advice would you give to young women who want to use their power for change? DON’T CHANGE YOUR SELF TO MEET SOMEONE ELSE'S EXPECTAITION, stay your self, you are perfect as you are, ignore any comments telling you to change

What does being a leader mean to you, Lottie? Someone who takes control of the situation.

Tell us about how you made/are making changes in your community? I’m trying to make everyone feel welcome by smiling and talking to them.

What advice would you give to young women who want to use their power for change? Be who you are and don’t let anyone tell you who you should be.

Nia Higginbotham

 

What does being a leader – and a woman leader – mean to you?  

 

Leadership depends on team work and including everyone.  It is about taking a deep breath and daring to claim one’s voice and one’s vision and not hoping someone else will do it for you. 

 

Beth mae bod yn arweinydd – ac yn arweinydd o ferch – yn ei olygu i chi? 

Mae arweinyddiaeth yn dibynnu ar gyd-weithio fel tîm a chynnwys pawb. Mae'n ymwneud â chymryd anadl ddofn a beiddio i hawlio’ch llais a’ch gweledigaeth, a pheidio â gobeithio y bydd rhywun arall yn ei wneud drosoch! 

Tell us about how you have made change in your community. 

 

A quarter of a century ago now I started TCC which brought together a range of local community groups together using community organising as a method of gaining power and bringing change.  It is the oldest surviving community organising group in the UK and the only such group which is not based in a city.  Over the years TCC has worked on issues which its members identify and succeeded in changing conditions. 

 

Rhowch wybod i ni am sut yr ydych wedi creu newid yn eich cymuned. 

Chwarter canrif yn ôl bellach sefydlais TCC sy’n dod ag ystod o grwpiau amrywiol cymunedol lleol ynghyd gan ddefnyddio canllawiau trefnu cymunedol fel dull o ennill pŵer ac ennill newid. Hwn yw'r grŵp trefnu cymunedol hynaf ym Mhrydain bellach a'r unig grŵp o'r fath na leolwyd mewn dinas. Dros y blynyddoedd mae TCC wedi gweithio ar faterion y mae ei aelodau wedi eu codi ac wedi llwyddo i ennill llawer mater y gweithwyr arnynt.

What advice would you give to women who want to use their power for change? 

 

Trust that if you speak out, there are others who feel the same, and will join you.  Be brave and go beyond your comfort zone.  Hold on to your values, even when you are tempted that the end justifies the means. Be patient and persevere. Keep learning. 

 

Pa gyngor fyddech chi’n ei roi i wragedd sydd eisiau defnyddio eu grym er mwyn newid? 

Ymddiried,  os siaradwch allan, fod yna eraill sy'n teimlo'r un fath â chi, ac y byddant yn fodlon ymuno â chi. Bod yn ddewr a mynd y tu hwnt i beth sy’n gysyurus. Dal at eich gwerthoedd, hyd yn oed pan gewch eich temtio bod y canlyniad yn cyfiawnhau'r dull. Bod yn amyneddgar a dyfalbarhau. Dal i ddysgu. 

 

You established TCC 25 years ago this year. Congratulations! An amazing achievement to have gone from strength to strength.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them? 

 

There have been many challenges including discovering that one’s strongest allies are not always those you expected!  Most challenges can be overcome by co-operation and dialogue and understanding that any ‘leadership’ or ‘change’ depends on finding ways of practicing relational power. 

 

Fe wnaethoch chi sylfaenu TCC 25 mlynedd yn ôl i eleni.  Llongyfarchiadau! Mae’n llwyddiant rhyfeddol ac yn mynd o nerth i nerth.  Pa heriau ydych chi wedi eu hwynebu – a sut wnaethoch chi eu goresgyn? 

Bu sawl her gan gynnwys darganfod nad eich cynghreiriaid cryfaf yw'r rhai  oeddech chi'n eu disgwyl bob amser!  Gellir goresgyn y mwyafrif o heriau trwy gydweithrediad a deialog a thrwy ddeall bod unrhyw ‘arweinyddiaeth’ neu ‘newid’ yn dibynnu ar ddod o hyd i ffyrdd o ymarfer Pŵer Perthynol. 

 

Masuma, Nadege, Niloha, Yasmin

 

What does being a leader – a woman leader – mean to you? 

Yasmin – I think as a leader everyone just thinks of making decisions and being bossy but it can be different. Because women are half of society (she is half of it and raises the other half!), she is very connected with people all around her. For me, a connected, emotionally sensitive women makes a very good leader. 

Niloha – A woman leader encourages other women, the ones who haven’t found their mission or purpose in life because they haven’t thought or dared to do it … yet. I would like every woman to wake up and have a vision for what she can do. All of us in life, we ask ourselves: what have I done? What is my mission in this world? All of us can and should speak up and speak out for our rights. We could be a voice for ourselves and for our society. There are many societies where women cannot speak up and can’t fight for their rights so if we can we should. 

Nadege – To me, a woman leader is a woman who empowers those who have a weakness, those who don’t trust themselves anymore, the one who rebuilds their motivation to get them back on track. 

Masuma – Being a woman leader, I feel strongly that I am powerful and empowered to infuse women with the experiences I have gathered in life to teach them how to fight for their own rights. 

 

Tell us about how you are making change in your community? 

Nadege – I am making change in my community through my poems, to let women know we should stand up together as one. Inspiring them, keeping them positive (even though sometimes I can be fed-up too!). 

Yasmin – in my opinion, change means movement so to make a change we need to move up and do something new. In my case, I got involved with the Voices Network and the Town of Sanctuary work with TCC as well. So, I speak up and ask for our rights. Even as new members in this country, we need to tell people about ourselves as refugees and asylum seekers, that we are normal human beings, they don’t have to be afraid of us or assume that we are taking their benefits from them; we are here to change our lives and we are going to change it into a better one. 

Masuma – The changes I have created in my community across Wales, I have been able to train other women and show them how important they are for society. The woman is the seed of a family, a community … if one woman is educated, she will have an impact on many generations. 

 

Are people listening to you? 

Niloha – Yes. We have been delivering trainings where we inform people what terms like asylum seeker and refugee mean. Things like modern slavery too, because even British citizens can be victims of this and many people here did not know that was going on. People have been very happy to learn from us. Some of our trainings have been fully-booked with a waiting list! 

I’ve noticed that people that have been to our trainings have given us positive feedback because they do want to know what is going on with asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants. At least in Wrexham, people seem very happy to make a Town of Sanctuary; they are becoming aware that people are coming to the town and they are being proactive, getting in touch with us and signing our pledge to make Wrexham a Town of Sanctuary. We are trying to amplify our voices from our lived experiences related to the right to work (the Lift the Ban campaign), housing, and other issues that we can face. Wrexham Voices Network is part of a national movement; we are seeing change in our communities because we have let them know that our lives have been disrupted and now we want to be part of this community, we want to work, pay taxes, integrate and be part of society. 

 

How does it feel to use your voice for change? 

Nadege – It feels good. I feel proud. 

Masuma – I feel powerful.  

Yasmin – I feel more determined to achieve our goals to make the biggest change. I feel … just … powerful. Having this chance to use our voices is very meaningful for us. It gives us a sense of power that we didn’t have in our countries. 

Niloha – It feels really wonderful. We could be pioneers for this change in Wales. We are taking this seriously and we would like to leave a legacy for the coming generations. 

 

What advice would you give to other women who want to use their power for change? 

Nadege – I encourage them to do so. The reason is that their voice counts. It will help them and the next generation. 

Yasmin – in my opinion, if the woman has the power for change she must use it for a good thing. Do it the right way, don’t make the same mistake men make with their power. My advice would be just don’t give up. Be determined. You have the power inside yourselves. You are not weak. 

Niloha – We know from history that women have often been in the background but women are able to lead communities. Be more connected. Find out what’s going on around the world and get in touch with your community, especially where there is help needed. Offer to help. Every contribution will be welcomed and we will together become more resilient and more powerful. 

Masuma – I am using my voice for social change, especially about modern slavery. To other women, I say: use your power. Know what is right for you and do something. Learn to communicate and speak up. Do not suffer internally. 

Menna Davies

 

What does being a leader – and a woman leader – mean to you?  

To me, being a leader means that I can work with other people to change peoples’ circumstances and get justice and fair play for people in the community. 

 

Beth mae bod yn arweinydd – ac yn arweinydd o ferch – yn ei olygu i chi? 

 

I mi, mae bod yn arweinydd yn golygu y gallaf weithio gyda phobl eraill i newid amgylchiadau pobl a sicrhau cyfiawnder a chwarae teg i bobl yn y gymuned. 

Tell us about how you have made change in your community. 

I have worked on issues that are important to me. I have done this by working in a group of like-minded people. We have researched the issues, found where the power lies, and used it to make changes in our community. I have worked on issues such as getting the local council to recycle waste instead of building an incinerator, secured a night shelter for the homeless, helped the town to gain Fair Trade status, and the nation to become a Fair Trade nation, secured extra money for secondary school pupils who receive free school meal allowance, so that they can also buy a breakfast or mid morning snack. I am now  working with the group to gain Town of Sanctuary status. 

Rhowch wybod i ni am sut yr ydych wedi creu newid yn eich cymuned.

Rydw i wedi gweithio ar achosion sy’n bwysig i mi. Rydw i wedi medru gwneud hyn trwy weithio gyda grwpiau o bobl sydd efo’r un meddylfryd â mi. Rydym wedi ymchwilio i’r achosion, darganfod pwy sy’n dal y grym  i  newid  pethau, a  defnyddio  hyn  i  newid  amgylchiadau  yn  y  gymuned.  Rydw  i  wedi gweithio ar nifer o achosion, sef, sicrhau fod y cyngor lleol yn ailgylchu gwastraff ynlle adeiladu llosgydd, sicrhau lloches nos i bobl di gartref, helpu’r dref i ennill statws Masnach Deg, ac  i’r  wlad  fod  yn  Genedl  Masnach  Deg. 

Yn ddiweddar rydym wedi sicrhau fod disgyblion ysgolion uwchradd sy’n deilwng o gael Cinio Rhad, yn derbyn mwy o arian, er mwyn iddynt fedru prynu brecwast neu fyrbryd yn y bore. Rydw i nawr yn gweithio gyda’r grŵp i gael statws Tref Noddfa i’n tref. 

What advice would you give to women who want to use their power for change? ​

You need to be passionate about the issue, have plenty of patience, as some issues take a long time to resolve. You need to be determined, and not give up too easily. You need to be able to listen and learn, do one to ones, get people on your side, and work with other people and agencies. 

           

I feel empowered to have been able to be a part of creating a national change across Wales. I look forward to seeing that this change will impact the lives of our young people, giving them opportunity to make the most of their education. 

 

Pa gyngor fyddech chi’n ei roi i wragedd sydd eisiau defnyddio eu grym er mwyn newid?  

Mae angen i chi deimlo’n angerddol am yr achos, a bod yn amyneddgar, gan y gall  rhai  achosion  gymeryd  llawer  o  amser  i’w  datrys.  Rhaid  bod  yn  benderfynol, a pheidio rhoi’r ffidil yn y to’n rhy hawdd. Mae angen gwrando a dysgu, siarad un i un efo pobl, cael pobl ar eich ochr chi, a medru gweithio efo pobl ac asiantaethau  eraill. 

Rydw i’n teimlo’n falch fy mod wedi bod yn rhan o greu newid cenedlaethol dros Gymru gyfan. Edrychaf ymlaen i weld y  bydd  y  newid  hwn  yn  gwneud gwir wahaniaeth i fywydau’n  pobl ifanc, gan roi iddynt gyfle i fanteisio o’u haddysg yn yr ysgol uwchradd. 

 
 

Kay Polley & Sam Rex-Edwards, TCC lead community organisers

What does being a leader – and a woman leader – mean to you?  

 

Kay – I think our role is a lot about encouraging other people to take on leadership roles and be active in public life to really participate in being part of what a community means. 

 

Sam – I think that’s for me one of the reasons why I really love organising because it enables people who may not naturally feel like leaders to become leaders. By putting on your community organising or community leader hat, it enables you to play a role to do the things you want to do. 

 

Kay – I think it’s really important to have women leaders, particularly as role models for young people. We don’t necessarily see this in the media or in our politicians so it is really important to have women from diverse backgrounds in leadership positions. 

Sam – That’s one of the ways organising in North East Wales is quite unique because it was established by a woman, the lead organisers have always been women, which is quite a unique thing in social activism as a whole in the UK. 

Tell us about how you have made change in your community. 

 

Sam – As lead organisers, and in organising as a whole, it’s not really about me or Kay making a change but about identifying community leaders and we help them to make the change. I’ve seen really great leaders develop and do really wonderful things over the years I’ve been with TCC. 

 

Kay – I think that is how we do make change; by agitating and supporting other people to tell their own stories and be active in public life, to meet with a decision-maker to make a change that matters to them. That’s how we’ve made that happen. For example, by facilitating people to get an employer to pay the Living Wage or changing Welsh government policy on Free School Meals. Those changes have been massive. 

Some people are reluctant to appoint senior staff on a job-share basis.  

 

  • What has your experience of job-sharing as senior leaders taught you that could inspire others? 

  • What challenges and opportunities does job-sharing at a senior level present? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 
 

Kay – Having a job-share is amazing, it’s been the best experience for me in my career, having somebody who really understands your role. The best part is when you don’t go to work, somebody else goes for you and does your job for you. It’s amazing to have a day off and come back to the office and things have been done! It is an amazing opportunity to work part-time and still keep going within a senior role. Obviously that job has got to be well-paid enough for you to do that, which relates to a really important issues about the value of jobs. 

 

I think the benefits of having a job-share are huge. There’s two of us; we can both be in different places at the same time, or both be in the same place at the same time. We bring quite different skill sets and we think about things quite differently, bringing our different experiences into that one role, which is really good value for money. 

 

Another thing is that it can be quite lonely in a senior role, there isn’t necessarily always somebody you can talk things through with. It could feel quite pressured having to resolve it all yourself so just having somebody who completely gets exactly where you are coming from to make decisions together with is phenomenal. 

 

Sam – I echo all that. On a personal level, I love organising and I love the fact I’m able to that at a senior level, balancing it with family whilst having the mental stimulation you want from a job. For a small charity it’s quite a brave thing to do. As a staff team and a trustee board we thought really carefully about how it would work. If we can do it with our scope, I think other organisations could do too. 

 

Kay – One of the roles we manage is a job-share as well, which adds another layer of complication. The fact that the majority of our staff are part-time does make it a little more challenging in terms of keeping on top of everybody’s calendars but the rewards we get are fantastic. The job share we manage are both very different, both phenomenal, bringing different skills and areas of expertise, yet they work together so well. Within that staff team, you then have that extra level of support there. 

 

Sam – It’s that team of two and if you get a good gel, it’s great.

What advice would you give to women who want to use their power for change? 

 

Kay - I think you have to be quite brave to be powerful; it can be quite scary to put yourself out there, actively calling for something. Maybe more so as a woman getting involved in decision-making, the kind of push-back you get is: “well, who do you think you are?” … “who does she think she is?” To not take that to heart, it’s not about you personally, that what you’re doing is more important than that. You do have to be quite brave; for women, women of colour, anyone from a community which traditionally hasn't had power, it can be quite a scary place. But you build power by working with lots of different people, you don’t have to do it on your own and actually you can't do it on your own. Build allies and find people to stand side by side with you. 

 

Sam - Community organising brings people together, their lived experience, stories, and expertise, knitting it altogether into a specific campaign for positive change to advance social justice in communities.  That distinction between public and private is really helpful … you put on your organising hat or your campaign hat and you can be a different person to the person you are at home. I have found it very freeing to then be able to challenge decision-makers or to have the kind of conversations I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t wearing that hat. 

 

Kay - Just to know that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be powerful. It is a great thing for women to want to do. That’s really the only way you can be involved with decision-making about decisions that affect you and the people you care about. Decisions are made in the public arena and you need that power to be able to step in and engage with decision-makers; you’ve got every right to do that. Your voice is as valid as absolutely everybody else’s. If you're questioning whether you should be involved in decision making, absolutely you should be every single time, you can get yourself a seat at the table.

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