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Peta Bulmer, Kay Thompson & Alison Jardine – Women’s Programme Participants


Approached by the Learning and Skills Council for Merseyside, Windmills was asked to design and delivery a women’s development programme aimed at helping women in the region to maximise their potential.

Targeted at underemployed women in Merseyside its aim was to provide career and person development support to help them move to higher level employment.

The following comments were typical of the women who engaged with the programme…..

“Before attending the Windmills Development Programme I was working in a full-time job that was ok, it wasn’t especially challenging or interesting, but it provided me with the opportunity to do a part-time degree so I was happy to stay put for the time being.”

“I felt very overwhelmed and didn’t know where I was going with my career before attending the Windmills Development Programme.  I was demoralised and unfocused, I was attracted towards the programme because I wanted to be more focused and confident I also wanted to explore the work/life balance issue.”

The programme supported 155 women running for two years in Merseyside and two in Lancashire.



Using the following model Windmills designed a programme over weekends and evenings that allowed easy access for women to come along.




It utilised the Windmills approach to working, learning, playing and giving (WLPG) and each delegate received their own copy of the resource enabling them to continue practicing the habits begun in the workshop once the programme delivery was completed.




We thought it best to let Peta, Alison and Kay say it in their own words…..

“I wanted to work out what I wanted from life and to start taking steps towards this.  I knew two other women who had previously been on the course had really enjoyed it, I was coming to the end of my degree so I thought that it would be a good time to re-evaluate what I was doing and what I want – which is to finish my degree, do an MA and put myself in a position to apply for a PhD/work in Archaeology.

I have made some very positive developments since the beginning of this course, I have almost finished my degree, I have been given an unconditional offer to do the MA course – so the first two steps are done!

At the moment life is good.  Yes everyone could do with a little more money, a little more excitement in work, a few more friends etc, but I am happy with the effort I’m putting into living my life and I’m happy with what I’m getting out of it and that my dreams might come true … but if they don’t, well I’m enjoying the journey anyway.

I think the Windmills Programme was brilliant, but probably best of all was just spending time with women who were also contemplating life, change and their dreams.  It was inspiring and made me feel really positive, I would recommend this course to others because I think people can get a lot out of it”.

Peta Bulmer,

“During the programme I felt the single most important thing that I went away with was trying to inject more play into all aspects of my life and to make my life more enjoyable/rewarding.  I decided that I wanted to travel, get fit, stay healthy and happy, set myself challenges, spend more time with friends, take up a hobby and expand my horizons.

Since the start of the programme I feel I have become more focused – it helped me put things into perspective and generally feel more positive in my situation and outlook on life.  I am spending more time with people who make me feel good, and am making an effort to get fit.  I have also felt less guilt about putting work on the back burner for a while whilst I concentrate on my family (which I feel more rewarded by).

The main things that I learnt from the programme are that it’s important to create a balance in your life that you feel comfortable with and it was good to have the time to devote to thinking about it.  The other great thing was being with a group of people who essentially felt the same way as you.  I felt quite humble to share in others thoughts on their lives and aspirations and feel lucky to have been involved with a fairly unique group of people.

Alison Jardine,


Via email

Hello fellow Windmillers,


I have news. Thanks to the Windmills course we all did together at a time in my life when I needed encouragement I’ve been taking steps to make my golden ticket a reality. I’ve still got it at home and that exercise really helped me to see how real it could all be.


I leave my job this Friday 8th August and set off on a round-the-world adventure on Monday 18th August for 12 months. On my own. I’m excited, a bit nervous but thrilled to be doing something for me, that I’ve always wanted to do. I start in Montreal, Canada and make my way through the USA to Fiji, then New Zealand (and grab a coffee with Helen Mills (remember her?  She emigrated), then Australia and onwards through South East Asia beginning in Singapore and ending in Beijing next August.

When I get back I’m enrolling on a Masters degree in Philosophy. I hope to study full-time at the University of York and get the student experience I missed out on the first time around.

I’ve paid off a huge amount of debt and saved up enough to start my trip too.

While I’m travelling I’m going to keep writing and try and find ways to make this a part of my career too.

So – thanks to you all for inspiring me and encouraging me to go for my dreams. I remember the windmills course fondly and the lunches we had afterwards.

Best Wishes and thanks,