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Posted on 5 March 2019

Happy and Proud project inspires Burnley girls to think about their future

A short film showing the journey of a group of young girls from South West Burnley was aired at Burnley Mechanics on Wednesday night.

This was part of an exhibition featuring work by participants of the Happy and Proud project, delivered by Calico Homes and Participation Works.

The young girls began this particular project six months ago to discover more about important women throughout history and modern day icons, all whilst learning new practical skills ranging from film editing and presenting to sewing and creating textile designs.
The Happy and Proud project received £28,000 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund which has allowed the girls to grow in a positive environment.

This involved working with heritage partners Gawthorpe Textiles Collection and Participation Works, visiting various museums in the region to learn more about topics such as equality, social justice and democracy.

From this, they then created their own bespoke fabrics and textile banners to reflect their own individual personalities, views and values.

The girls also worked closely with Burnley textile designer and artist Becca Shaw and learnt about the success of the entrepreneurial designer’s brand, Becca Who.

The film screening and exhibition gave the girls a chance to share the work they have done via the Happy and Proud project with their families and friends.

Many of the girls were initially lacking in confidence and unsure of what paths they’d like to take in the future and are now excelling at school and plan to go on to further education thanks to this experience.

Daisy-May Georgia Ratcliffe said:
“I’ve been a part of Happy and Proud from the beginning. Back then, I didn’t really have much of a vision about my future or what I wanted to do when I leave school.

“I spent time mentoring the Year 6 girls on this project and realised that I’d like to help younger people so have decided to apply to university and train in social work.

“The reactions towards the film have been great. I felt that everyone was genuinely listening and could see first-hand the work that we all put into it.

“My mum’s reaction was the best! She cried and told me that she is so proud of me.”

Lynne Blackburn, Project Manager at Participation Works, said:
“This whole project has been an amazing experience for everyone involved.

“It’s given the girls a unique opportunity to learn about the history of Burnley and meet inspirational women in the current day too.”

Helen Thompson, Executive Director of Group Operations said
“The Happy and Proud project has been a really important part of Calico’s community engagement activity.

“It just goes to show how, with the right support and focus, young Burnley women from both past and present, can achieve great things.”

Sue Reddish, Textile Artist at Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, said:
“This project is called ‘Happy and Proud’ and I could not be any prouder of these girls.

“I have watched the transformation as they have discovered new skills, grown in confidence and formed firm friendships along the way.”

For more information about this and similar projects, visit

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