A Guide to Liverpool Women’s Groups.

Its international women’s day, and so we thought we’d highlight the groups and societies in Liverpool fighting for women’s equality, liberty and the right to be how they want and do what they want in our city.

The world still isn’t on an even keel. The suffragette movement started International women’s day in 1909 to campaign for better pay and the right to vote, and today there are still issues that need to be addressed. Equal pay is one of them.

Our list celebrates and highlights groups who:

  • Provide education in the aim of the betterment of our society though women in industry,
  • who provide places to take part in sectors of society that are traditionally male-orientated i.e. technology,
  • who support women in the Chinese community,
  • and groups who help women who are victims of domestic and/or sexual abuse.

Without further ado, here they are:

Liverpool Girl Geeks

Liverpool Girl Geeks‘ mission is to gather a community of all generations in the City engaged with and inspired by Technology, Gaming, Design, Programming and Digital.

With its strong tech and gaming pedigree we recognise that the women of Liverpool are in need of a community like this – offering inspiration, support, guidance and feedback.

We will be holding regular events which will involve workshops, demonstrations, industry lead speakers and networking opportunities.

Our aims are to make this a community blog, so if you want to inspire other women and want to write for us – Talk to us via email at: hello@liverpoolgirlgeeks.co.uk




The Women’s Organisation

The Women’s Organisation is the largest developer and deliverer of training and support targeting women in the UK. We deliver services locally in Merseyside and Greater Manchester, with a reach across the North West and deliver projects across the world.

We work with women from diverse communities and backgrounds, enabling, assisting and inspiring them to believe in their abilities, to flourish in both new and existing businesses and in employment, and to take a full and active part in their communities We enable women to access the funding and facilities, experience and expertise that they need to succeed.

We are constantly campaigning and utilising  research to find new ways forward, to open doors and to close down discrimination. We want to ensure that women have a voice at the highest level, in business, community and political life, and we never stop working to create a fair and equal environment where women can truly aspire and achieve.


Women’s Health Information & Support

WHISC‘s purpose is to offer information, training and support on women’s health issues. We will provide help and information services to support women through our volunteers and staff, through partnerships and through referral to other organisations where appropriate. WHISC is rooted in local service delivery and we will deliver outreach services wherever possible. We will ensure consistent standards and value diversity and will be recognised as leaders in our field by being independent, inclusive, collaborative, responsive, effective, accountable and well led. The interests of women are paramount and at the heart of our services. Our strength lies in our volunteers combined with effective governance, leadership and management.

WHISC is run by a Management Committee which oversees all the legalities of running a limited company and registered charity. The Management Committee is made up of women who are actively involved with WHISC, students from past and current women’s health courses and women who are interested in WHISC’S objectives.

WHISC currently has five employees; Centre Manager, Community Worker Outreach, Finance & Administration Officer, Information Officer, and a Tutor.WHISC was established in 1984 by a group of women from a variety of backgrounds in the Vauxhall area of Liverpool. The women were fed up with not getting enough information from their GP’s, so, they attended a Women’s Health Course in order to find out more about their own health and bodies, especially in areas such as PMT and the menopause.

The course eventually moved from Vauxhall to Shorefield Annex, Aigburth Road, and with money from the County Council a mobile women’s health bus purchased. Some of the women embarked on basic counselling training, which lasted for 10 weeks. The meetings were held every Sunday, as that was the only available day for all of the women to attend. The women hoped to pass on their skills and knowledge in order that women could increase the control they have over their own health and provide a better service for women.

The women then wanted a city centre base to work from and the Family Planning Clinic in Bold Street offered to provide WHISC with a room for one day a week (Thursday) and from there, the ‘drop-in’ began. The women would have to take all of their information in, unpack it for the drop-in session and re-pack it up again for 1.30pm. At that time there was a paid part-time WHISC organiser and administration worker. The Family Planning Association then closed down the Liverpool office, leaving WHISC without premises.

In 1991, WHISC relocated to 95a Mount Pleasant, where money from fund-raising allowed them to refurbish a “betting shop” into a drop-in. In 1994, due to an increasing number of clients and volunteers, the premises became too small and finally, after a frantic fundraising exercise, WHISC settled at 120 Bold Street, our present home.

Blackburne House

Blackburne House is a beautiful Grade II listed building, situated in Liverpool’s famous Hope Street quarter, close to the city centre. Attracting thousands of visitors each year, our facilities include a thriving café bar, a women’s health suite, excellent conference facilities and a 30 place nursery.

The Women’s Technology And Education Centre (WTEC) was established in 1983. Our aim was to attract low paid or unemployed women and equip them with the skills to progress into employment in technical professions; an area in which women are traditionally under-represented. By 1991 the organisation had expanded considerably and it was therefore necessary to find new accommodation. Over £4 million was raised in order to refurbish Blackburne House.

Blackburne House is believed to have been originally built between 1785 and 1790. It was constructed as the countryside residence of John Blackburne who was the Mayor of Liverpool in 1788, a position his Father, a wealthy merchant and dealer in the slave trade also named John held in 1760.

In 1844 a local merchant and ship owner called George Holt purchased the property. George was born in Rochdale and had moved to Liverpool in 1807, at the behest of his Father to strive to make his fortune. Beginning work as an apprentice to a local cotton broker in Water Street, George soon achieved his early ambitions and became a successful merchant whose family name still lives on in Liverpool. Holt Road and the former Holt School named in their honour. Two of Georges son’s also founded the Ocean Steamship Company and the Blue Funnel Line.

Blackburne House was one of many properties owned by George Holt and he offered the building to the directors of the nearby Mechanics Institute, later to become the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, in order that they set up a Girls School in honour of his Daughter Emma Jane.

Despite it being almost the mid 1800’s there was no Girls School established in Liverpool and so Blackburne House became the very first. It opened on the 5th August 1844 and Mrs Frances Elizabeth Davies was the school’s first Matron and Head Governess.

In 1874 the original house was rebuilt and enlarged and the school became the Liverpool Institute High School for Girls. It continued in this role until its closure in 1986, the building having been awarded a grade 2 listing in 1975. The school produced some notable luminaries during its time including Edwina Currie, Actor Tina Malone and Gill Reynolds MBE, and it was a sad day on which its doors were closed.

The building lay unused until 1992 when it was identified as an ideal location to house the Women’s Technology and Education Centre.  Over £4 Million was raised over 3 years and with the help of local investors and funding programmes. Blackburne House’s beautiful doors opened once again in September 1994.

Today Blackburne House is a successful and vibrant organisation that has grown from a centre of education for women to being one of the UK’s leading and pioneering social enterprises. Thousands of visitors, students and businesses continue to use our services and the work we undertake enables individuals, organisations and businesses to positively impact on the local economy.

From the beginning, Blackburne House has successfully established a number of highly acclaimed and flourishing social enterprises which continue to support our educational aims and provide tangible examples of how new markets can be used to serve local communities.

The work we have done has received local, national and international recognition and our Chief Executive, Claire Dove MBE DL is the appointed Chair of the Social Enterprise Coalition which provides a national platform for showcasing the benefits of social enterprise.




Wai Yin Society (Manchester).

Wai Yin Society has been supporting, empowering and working in partnership with Chinese individuals and families for more than 25 years. Founded in 1988 by a group of community-minded Chinese women, Wai Yin has become one of the largest Chinese Community centres in the UK, sustaining its operations through commissions and contracts with mainstream organisations. As the society has grown, we have developed a range of employment, education and community services for Chinese men and women and for other ethnic minority groups, including Somali, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and many European nationalities.

The Society aims to challenge all forms of discrimination and social exclusion through the provision of diverse and reactive services, delivered by a team of qualified social workers, nurses and other professionals.

Wai Yin has over 1000 service users, 450 adult learners and an annual turnover of £1.2 million in 2011. We recognise that our success is rooted in the talents, enthusiasm and commitment of our people and we are proud to have 8 Committee Members, approximately 50 staff, 27 contract based tutors and over 50 volunteers. Wai Yin has a successful history of awards and our achievements include the Investor in People Award (2002), the Matrix Quality Mark (2008) and the Best Social Enterprise Award (2010), amongst others. Working in partnership with Lancaster University, MMU and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Wai Yin has published a number of research papers relevant to BME communities. We offer social work and healthcare placements to UK and international students and we are strengthening ties with universities in China and Hong Kong.

We currently have three bases in Manchester: our Swan Street Headquarters which provides services for children, young people and families, and also hosts our Learning Centre, which caters for about 70% Chinese learners and 30% other BME learners; we have the Sheung Lok Centre which provides the services for older Chinese people and for older Somali women. The Welcome Centre, which is situated in the centre of Cheetham Hill provides English Classes, IT classes, Work Club, Welfare Advice, free Lunches and Food parcels distribution to the most in need, gardening classes to grow your own food, arts and craft classes, and job search support to the local residents in Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall areas.

The Society values equality, diversity and mutual respect. We are deeply committed to extending the reach of our services to all members of the community and many of the people who use our centre are non-Chinese. We are proud of being British and Chinese and we promote the positive expression of culture by working in partnership with BME community groups.


Queen of the Track – Zine

Queen of the Track is an exciting print and digital project emerging from the cultural underbelly of Liverpool, UK. After finding ourselves increasingly frustrated with the limited scope of subjects offered up by women’s magazines, we decided to create our own, much needed alternative. As a collective we aim to highlight female political consciousness and prioritising female writers from a plethora of experience and abilities.




The Swan Centre

The SWAN Centre is a place where women of Sefton can meet in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. We are an independent, voluntary organisation and our services are confidential and free with complementary therapies offered at a reduced rate. At SWAN women can meet, relax, make friends and be offered support. We help women build up self-esteem and confidence to promote better interpersonal relationships. We also enable women to become more socially active and improve their quality of life.



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8th March 2016 by Chris Gibson