The Bridge Project has grown over the past 25 years from a small grassroots charity to one of the leading education networks that gives women in the North East an opportunity to develop their potential by offering educational courses that can lead to a qualification.
As it celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year, managers and staff stick by its founding philosophy – to empower women by helping them gain the confidence, knowledge and skills to realise their aspirations.
With centres in Tyne & Wear and County Durham, Bridge offers a listening support service to help women cope with issues that may prevent them reaching their potential, and to deal with issues around domestic violence, debt problems, relationship difficulties and drug and alcohol abuse.
“We strive to reach those who are socially excluded and have little access to learning or service provision,” said Sheila Davidson, the project’s Chief Executive. “Since 85% of Bridge staff are ‘home grown’, there is clear empathy with the needs of learners,” she added.
Bridge has detailed systems for monitoring and raising achievement. Sheila says, “We have a network of over 7,000 women who we strive to make contact with until they tell us otherwise.”