Widows Empowerment Trust based at BizSpace Newton Heath in Manchester has become a multi-award-winning organisation in a matter of months.
The charity was founded in 2017 after Oyovwe Kigho, Founder and CEO, noticed the little support that was provided in her community when a close friend’s husband passed away.
On a mission to promote social inclusion and empower widows, Oyovwe Kigho set up the charity which now has a popular schedule of Arts and Crafts and Karaoke workshops, befriending and home visit services, training sessions, meals out and day trips, and dementia services. Oyovwe said: “There’s been challenges and setbacks along the way but being able to put a smile on somebody's face and make them a bit happier during a difficult time makes it all worthwhile.”
Earlier this year the charity won The Compassionate Award 2019 from the Manchester BME Network, received the Points of Light Award by Theresa May in recognition of her 'exceptional service supporting widows and widowers' and was recently announced as the winner of the Community Cohesion Award at the Spirit of Manchester Awards 2019. Oyovwe said: “I am delighted to have received two awards and be honoured by the prime minister this year. To get such great recognition is so overwhelming.”
The Widows Empowerment Trust has also been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achiever Award which will be announced at the National Diversity Awards later this year in Liverpool. Oyovwe said: “I was amazed and overwhelmed to hear I’d been shortlisted. It’s been my mission to give hope to the hopeless, and to be up for such an amazing accolade is a dream come true.”
Kevin Cavanaugh, Business Centre Manager at BizSpace Newton Heath said: “It has been great to watch the charity grow and to find out that they’ve won several awards this year is just fantastic. The work they’re doing to support people during some of their most difficult times is awe-inspiring and I wish them continued success so they can help even more people in their hour of need.”
Oyovwe has been with BizSpace since the start of 2018 after deciding she could no longer run her business from home. Since being at BizSpace she said: “The team have supported me throughout my journey and have always had a positive attitude towards my business. They’ve helped in the past by providing a space for our training sessions and celebrations and have helped to spread our story.”
The organisation has a lot to celebrate this year, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still challenges. Oyovwe said: “Securing funding for the charity is an ongoing challenge as is engaging and recruiting new volunteers.” The volunteer opportunities include befriending and attending home visits, fundraising, office and administrative roles, and marketing. They also work closely with Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University, offering work placements that can make up part of the student’s course.
If you or someone you know has been widowed, get in touch with the Widows Empowerment Trust to find out how they can help. The organisation is open to people of all faiths, social backgrounds and abilities.
To find out more about volunteering click here or to donate click here.