We have been talking about starting a business together for years, since we were in school actually, and with lockdown starting last year we thought what a perfect time to start. We always knew we wanted to do something that would create positive change for future generations, so we began by thinking about things that would have benefited our younger selves. As we met in school, that's where these conversations began.
Thinking back on our school years, we realised that we were never taught about consent and how useful this would have been as young adults figuring out relationships, jobs and our own sense of self. To our surprise, when we both went to university in England and realised how substandard our sex education was compared to our peers from the rest of the United Kingdom, we knew that something needed to be done about this.
After graduating from university in 2016 and returning back to Northern Ireland, we both became founding board members of Antrim based charity Lightwork NI. Lightwork have delivered their emotional resilience programme to 3000 young people across Northern Ireland. Sitting on the board reading the evaluations and speaking to the facilitators, we recognised consistent themes of a lack of understanding about consent, and the negative effect this was having on young peoples' relationships and mental health. This gave us the drive we needed to see what we could do about this.
Did you know in Northern Ireland it is down to individual schools what they include in their sex education, with very few including consent? Sex education is mandatory, yes. But it is at each school’s discretion what this looks like, meaning the content and delivery style can be affected by the schools’ resources, religious beliefs, or even individual teachers’ beliefs and biases.
Our young people deserve consistent sex education that is evidence-based, inclusive of consent education and available to all. Until the Northern Irish government makes this essential education mandatory, we will do our very best to make consent programmes available to as many young people as possible. We will do this by funding consent education delivered by Lightwork NI. They have taken all of their expertise and feedback and developed an incredible inclusive, non-judgmental and evidence backed education programme all about consent. It is exactly the type of programme we would have loved to have in school. We can’t wait for it to be shared with as many young people as possible.
Where do candles come into it?
We LOVE candles, but found it so hard to find local all-natural soy candles that don’t break the bank. So, we thought how hard can it be? Well after a year in the making, trialing and testing various candles, we now have the most beautiful soy candles to share with you all.
We hope you join us on this journey to make a difference for current and future generations of Northern Ireland.
Catherine & Jess xx