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“If I can do it, you can do it, in a way that works for you!”

These were the rousing words from Cherie Blair, CBE, KC, at the Merseyside Women of the Year Awards (MWOTY) in Liverpool on Friday 30th June during her conversation with Rae Brooke, CEO, Community Foundation for Merseyide and Lancashire in which they discussed Sefton born Cherie’s personal journey and why platforms that support women are so vital.





All MWOTY winners are women who have displayed the courage, determination, and resilience that characterise business leaders and entrepreneurs – each and every one of them inspiring in different ways – and as this year’s headline sponsors of the event we are incredibly proud to have been able to help provide a platform for their stories to be heard and shared.

In her opening address to the attendees, Moira O’Shaughnessy pictured here with some of the FPC team commented: “This is an awards ceremony like no other. It epitomizes women supporting women to create real change in their communities and within the organisations they lead or work within. In the famous words from the musical Hamilton, Merseyside Women of the year is “a movement not a moment”  – a movement that gives women a platform to be seen, heard and found and a stage from which to shine, flourish and grow.”

Let’s start by introducing  Heather Evans and June Russell, founders of the Halle O’Brien CIC who were jointly crowned Merseyside Women of the Year 2023.

Heather set up the Halle O’Brien CIC in 2020, in memory of her beautiful daughter Halle, who tragically passed away in 2019 at the age of 19, after contracting a rare form of meningitis.

Halle had ambitions to help children learn and develop socially and academically, so after her death Heather and June established “Halle’s Hub”, a space for the Ford Lane community that focuses on supporting young, disadvantaged people, keeping Halle’s dream alive.

The accolade was presented to the inspirational duo by Moira and Bernice at the glittering ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Liverpool which was attended by 400 guests.

Other category winners were as follows:

Arts, Culture & Media award was awarded to Juliana Pinheiro Landim, Leigh-Angel Bevan & Tamasin Dunand from cultural hub and Brazilian drumming band, Katumba, for its positive impact on health, wellbeing, and culture in the local community.

 The Business Leader award was presented to Elissa Corrigan, the owner of award-winning female health supplement company Elle Sera.

The Community Change award was won by Amy Smythe, also known as “The Worry Wizard” which helps children in Merseyside and beyond to move from worries to wellbeing.

The Entrepreneur award was presented to the founder of Parent Promise, Emma Jarvis which works with businesses to support employees throughout pregnancy and parenthood.

The Inspirational Women award was won by Claire Lewis of Team 1C, a charity dedicated to children born with congenital heart defects.

The Women of Courage award went to Allison Furlong, founder of Alfie’s Squad, a non-profit organisation supporting children who have been bereaved or affected by suicide in Merseyside, with her son Alfie. Alfie lost his dad in May 2017 at the age of eight.

The Women Making a Difference award was won by Ann Coffey, who runs The Sunshine Group breast cancer support group at Liverpool University Hospital Trust.

The Women to Watch award was presented to community activist, Lucky Ali, who saved her student loan to open a local business to support the local community.

A surprise for the women behind Liverpool’s Eurovision year! 

Who could forget the incredible sights and atmosphere across Liverpool in May when our wonderful, vibrant, beautiful city was host to the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) on behalf of Ukraine?!

The event reached 162 million people over the three live shows with the UK credited with delivering the largest ESC audience on record – an average of 9.9 million viewers watched the Grand Final on BBC One. The Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie commented: “This was a Eurovision Song Contest like no other and we couldn’t have been more proud to showcase Ukraine and Liverpool to the rest of the world.”

While the full economic and social impact of hosting the event in Liverpool is still being evaluated, early data and figures from Merseyside Police suggest that an additional 500,000 visitors came to the city in the two weeks running up to the Contest. This is in line with pre-event predictions which also suggested the event would net up to £30 million in profit which will be reinvested into regeneration projects around the city.

With the UK government having invested £10 million to help the city facilitate the event, there is also the long-term boost to tourism which itself is expected to raise up to £260 million by 2026, according to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Taking all this into account, it is likely that our city will exceed the projected 6% economic growth which was forecasted in 2022 – great news for everyone, but especially business owners and investors in the North West.

None of this though would have been possible without the teams at Liverpool City Council (LCC), led by its Head of Communications, Camilla Mankabady and Culture Liverpool led by Claire McColgan CBE.

Invited to attend the MWOTY awards as our VIP guests Camilla, Claire, and representatives from their teams and from Marketing Liverpool were surprised to find themselves being called up to the stage by Moira O’Shaughnessy, Managing Partner at FPC, to publicly acknowledge the incredible feat they performed enabling this event to happen in Liverpool, and the part they have  played in improving the city’s economic outlook.

Finally, for the first time ever, MWOTY also presented a special Fellowship award at the ceremony to celebrate outstanding contribution to the Liverpool City. The recipient of the inaugural Fellowship award was revealed as Lesley Martin-Wright JP DL, for her significant contribution to women in business, enabling them to connect to professional advice and information and  guiding them to adopt a growth mindset and gain competitive edge in the marketplace. She was also recognised for her work during her tenure as the High Sheriff of Merseyside 2022/23.

 The Merseyside Women of the Year Awards will return  on Friday 28th June 2024 at the Crowne Plaza, Liverpool Waterfront and  FPC’s role as headline sponsor will continue until then as we work to support the winners and their future endeavours.

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