17 organisations funded through the Women’s Financial Empowerment Fund

The Smallwood Trust is delighted to be launching the Women’s Financial Empowerment Fund supported by Barclays. The Fund will run over 3 years and award multi-year grants to 17 Smallwood partners – including our award-winning Community Grant Partners (CGPs) to deliver individual grants, Barclays LifeSkills training and employability skills.

The whole programme will support 4,200 women to access a package of financial, employability and confidence building support, empowering them to thrive and be more financially resilient. The Women’s Financial Empowerment Fund is a crucial response to close the gaps in provision for women on low incomes, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis. It will benefit not only women on low income who are experiencing inequalities and are most at risk of poverty, but also the by and for women’s sector, which is critical to providing specialist services within local communities, and which brings lived experience to the heart of the programme. The partners are in underserved communities across England and Scotland, where intersecting disadvantages relating to gender and child poverty are evident.

The Women’s Financial Empowerment Fund aims to help these women at risk of poverty build key financial and employability skills together with improvements in confidence and mental health. As part of their Citizenship Strategy, the support provided by Barclays will:

  • Strengthen and expand five Community Grant Partners to deliver vital services to financially vulnerable women providing financial support in the form of small grants, as well as help around housing, debt, money management, mental health and employment.
  • Provide additional funding to four Community Grant Partners to deliver an Employability Programme alongside existing services, helping vulnerable women to move closer to the labour market with a view to securing sustainable employment opportunities.
  • Fund a total of eight partners to deliver 16,000 Barclays LifeSkills modules, alongside existing services and interventions. These focus on economic outcomes, skills and confidence for the women most at risk of poverty.

One of our partners, Lancashire Women, delivered Barclays LifeSkills in a previous funding round. Use of the programme allowed them to fill a gap in their services, delivering educational, preventative support around key vulnerabilities affecting women. The project helped them to support women from crises and look towards longer term stability and resilience in their lives. The new funding means they can continue this vital work with over 300 women and expand to digital delivery, which they successfully did throughout lockdown.

As we continue through a period of heightened economic hardship, the demand for our endowment funding far outstrips availability and raising additional funding for the sector is crucial as we tackle gendered poverty. We extend our thanks to Barclays for supporting Smallwood with this vital initiative.

To learn more about how the Smallwood Trust is supporting a growing eco-system of funding to individuals, organisations, and policy and influencing activities, you can view our 2022-2024 Strategic Plan here.

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