Welcome to Practical Woman! We are a community interest company seeking to empower and equip women in North Central London with practical skills. That’s Practical Woman in a nutshell.

“Practical Woman sounds like a fantastic idea which will equip women with important practical skills”
Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP

Our board

Kara Bird (Operations Manager)

Kara Bird, founder of Practical Woman

Hi, my name is Kara Bird and I am the founder of Practical Woman. I realised after speaking to friends that we often can’t do the basic everyday handiwork and feel we would all benefit from the chance to try it out in a safe, friendly, non-judgemental environment.

I have worked in the community since graduating from law school in 2005. I have experience of working with people affected by cancer, women coming to the UK from other countries as asylum seekers and refugees, young carers and people with a long-term mental health diagnosis.

Email Kara

Emma Halford-Busby (Communications and Marketing)

Kara Bird and Emma Halford-Busby

Emma has known Kara since they were both 18 and is helping with getting the word out about Practical Woman. When she heard about Kara’s idea to set up Practical Woman she knew she had to be involved. Giving women access to opportunities to learn new life skills no matter their background is fantastic.

When she’s not working on Practical Woman, Emma’s day job is working on other websites and in her spare time enjoys reading, watching as many films as she can and visiting stately homes and museums.

Email Emma

John McDonnell (Chair)

I’m excited to be involved in the Practical Woman workshops. Developing women’s skills in these areas is of vital importance especially for vulnerable women. In my professional role, I am a social worker and qualified in 2008. I have worked with children and disabled children. In my spare time, I enjoy a wide range of sports including cycling and I also enjoy watching films.  

Laura Woods (Secretary)

Hi, I’m Laura. Like for many women, being independent, able and confident is important to me. However, I’ve realised how much society’s messages to women have got to me and made me think there are things I can’t do, like DIY or asking for a pay rise. I’m doing my best to  overcome those messages and delighted Practical Woman is there to support me and others in doing this and knowing our own potential.

Our friends


I have worked for charities for the last 15 years, and I met Kara in my last role. When Kara told me about Practical Woman I was really excited to support her. I think it is a brilliant idea and much needed. In my spare time, I am currently decorating my flat, and I hope to pass on my skills to other women.


I’ve been a carpenter for 18 years mostly doing fitted furniture and have done some carpentry teaching/DIY training along the way. Outside of this, I play music, singing and drumming in a few bands. When I heard of Kara’s Practical Woman project I was keen to get involved as there is still a barrier for a lot of women in using tools and doing practical jobs around the house.


I’ve been a plumber for 13 years, six of which have been as a self-employed sole trader. Before training as a plumber, I worked at a television post-production company, as an EFL teacher and in various other office jobs. I was based in London until 2016 when I moved to Somerset with my husband and four-year-old son.