WiRE Burton, a monthly networking group for working women in the town, has celebrated its 6th birthday and reunited some of the women who attended its very first meeting.
Eleven women in business attended the first meeting in October 2011, which was held in a small corner studio upstairs at The Brewhouse arts centre. Six years on, and more than 30 women took over the bar at The Brewhouse for its birthday celebration.
Among them were five of the women who attended that first meeting, including human resources consultant Karen Kirby who set up the group with Joelle Harris.
Joelle, who runs textile and sewing workshops with an emphasis on sustainability and upcycling, now lives in Lincolnshire and was unable to attend but sent her good wishes.
Karen said: "It's fantastic to see how WiRE has grown in Burton. Joelle and I had been attending meetings of the WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) organisation in Lichfield and we decided it would be good to start a group in Burton."
Anna Roebuck, of The Meeting House in Winshill, who was the guest speaker at the first meeting, said: "Six years have flown by! Well done to you all for making it such a strong and supportive network."
WiRE is a not-for-profit organisation, which now has 70 networking groups for women around the UK. All the groups are run by volunteers with experience of running their own businesses. The Burton group is now run by Elaine Pritchard, Alison Bradley and Lorraine Holden.
Centrepiece of the celebrations was a showstopper of a cake designed and made by Jemima Cook, of Cookie Crumble, in Winshill. She spent hours creating fondant figures representing some of the professions of WiRE members including photographer, nail technician, artisan bread maker, singing teacher, bookkeeper and IT and social media experts.
There was also a little figure in a sleeping bag in front of a cardboard box, representing this year's Sleepout at the Pirelli Stadium on November 11. The sleep-out raises funds for YMCA Burton, WiRE Burton's charity for this year. Many WiRE women are taking part in the sleep-out with others supporting them with donations.
The WiRE group invited female councillors from East Staffordshire Borough Council to join the celebration meeting and find out how WiRE has supported women in business in the town. Four councillors were able to attend and met a wide range of local women who work for themselves and others.
WiRE Burton welcomes women who volunteer for charities and women who might be thinking of starting a new venture to its monthly meetings as well as those already running their own business or working for someone else’s venture. You can find out more at its Facebook page here