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Inspirational Sally empowering women in Oldham and beyond.
Wednesday 13th March 2019 @ 13:28 by Anna Fletcher
Community News

Sally Bonnie has dedicated her life to empowering women while bringing them together to support each other.

She came to Oldham in 2007 and over those eleven years created a wonderful community encouraging woman to feel empowered, that culminated in Inspire Women Oldham.

Sally, who has worked and trained all over Europe, started life in Manchester, moving to Rochdale after getting married in her early 20s.

Sally said: “I have always worked in community throughout my career and when I moved to Oldham in 2007, it was to support their social enterprise project. Oldham didn’t have its own women’s centre and I wanted to do something about that. I set up the Collective Partnership once that ended as well as my coaching business.”

The Collective Partnership is a management consultancy and social trading organisation. Sally’s work as a transformational coach has taken place over 25 years where she focuses particularly on coaching women enabling them to leave behind limiting beliefs and labels to live happy, healthy and successful lives.

Sally said: “I’d been involved with some great coaches, but when I looked at what was available to women who couldn’t afford to pay for coaching or training, I found there wasn’t an awful lot available and what was there was medical or clinical rather than personal development. So some of my interest was in how you could take personal development programmes into the community for women in way that was sustainable.

“I wondered if we could spend time working with women who were labelled as disadvantaged to turn that around through personal development and empowerment programmes and then they could go on to help other women. I suppose that was the embryonic stage of Inspire Women.”

Sallie created Inspire Women, registering as a community interest company in 2013, and with a grant in 2015 from the Lottery Women and Girl’s Fund they were able to set up a permanent home to continue their work.

That work has been recognised both on a local and national level with Sally invited to speak at The Royal Society in London last year. Even the structure of the organisation is unique with no Chief Executive and everyone still involved with front facing activities.

Inspire was developed over a decade and Sally had not planned for it from the start.

She said: “If you had told me ten years ago where we are now I wouldn’t have believed it. I am so glad that I had the conviction to try and stay surrounded by great people who have been cheerleaders. If you ask anyone trying to make a difference, the network they have around them will be kind and generous individuals that keep you uplifted and I certainly have people like that around me. I am personally very inspired by the women around me.”

Though Sally doesn’t remember it herself, her mum recalls that Sally always wanted to work with women.

Sally said: “After I spoke at The Royal Society, my mum said she remembers me at four watching a charity advert and saying that when I was older I was going to work with women and children and help them to be happy.”

Sally has also been busy forming the Stronger Together Collective, a social enterprise to bring people together to talk about community-led innovation and start having the conversation about gender and equality.

Sally said: “The network is for men and women, it is about getting influencers and decision makers in a room together, people who want to start exploring what a gender platform is. Decisions being made in Greater Manchester affects us, especially with so many funds and services facing cuts, and we want to discuss how we can be a part of it, how do women get into spaces where they currently have no influence? My passion is women’s voices being heard and women being able to live full lives.”

Sally is also beginning a project working with young women that will start this year, something she has always wanted to do.

She added: “I would say to anybody that has a dream or a goal, you are the only person that can truly see your idea or dream. Don’t allow the comments of others to destroy that, instead surround yourself with people who will encourage you because even if it doesn’t work out you have tried. Without people to believe in it, an idea is just that. I love a quote from Brene Brown, she says ‘…unless you’re in the arena getting your arse kicked then your comments don’t mean anything to me.’ Don’t let criticism or fear stop you from trying.”