"You must be the change you wish to see in the world"



Melanie is an ex-RAF Catering Officer and experienced Community Educator who wanted to utilise her skills and knowledge to support marginalised young people. Additionally, during her RAF training Melanie suffered severe bullying due to her background and gender – and this has shaped not only the work she does but her desire to mentor and support young people so that they become the person they are meant to be regardless of background, culture or gender.

Working within local communities in South West Birmingham – and primarily with young women -  our experience shows that the majority of those we have worked with have lacked any sense of confidence, knowledge of their skills, self-belief or hopes for a job in the future. However, increasingly the young women undertaking our training programmes have also been dealing with mental health issues. This is also reflected nationally as a report by the Mental Health Foundation in 2017 showed that the last 15 years has seen an unprecedented rise in reported mental health problems amongst young women and girls. 

In early 2018, the Devenishgirl Directors undertook a re-evaluation of the business – including who we currently seek to support and how what we offer could better support women dealing with mental health issues. Alongside this, Melanie has suffered with Seasonal Affective Disorder for many years and felt that her own experiences of dealing with mental health issues could help shape the focus of any training and workshops offered through Devenishgirl in the future.

In April 2018 the Nationla Lottery Comunity fund provided a grant for Melanie to pilot the Connect course aimed at supporting women with mental health issues. You can read more in the skills section.



We're grateful to SANTANDER Discovery Foundation for funding a range of cookery clases and healthy eating workshops for those impacted by homelessness. Working in partnership with Choirwithnoname (Melanie is also a volunteer cook with this amazing charity), we will also create our very own cookbook!

As our first round of workshops and courses were fully booked, we are about to start running another series of cookery and baking classes throughout late May and June.

Working in partnership with Choirwithnoname we will then start work on creating our very own cook book - filled with recipes from our members and volunteers across all the choirs. Our aim is to start selling the cookbook in late Autumn to raise more funds for this fantastic charity.