28 Community Grant Partners re-funded

We are delighted to announce that we have refunded 28 organisations delivering grants to individual women through Smallwood’s award-winning Community Grant Partnership Programme.

The funding will support organisations over three years and is in part supported by Barclays and the Women’s Financial Empowerment Fund. You can read more about the fund here.

What is the Community Grant Partnership Programme?
The programme is a strategic initiative that helps us to shift grant-making power to local community organisations, the majority of which are led by and for women. 

Alongside a three year grant, our Community Grant Partners are given 1-1 support by a dedicated Grants Manager and a grant-making toolkit detailing the steps toward awarding a grant and eligibility criteria. In turn, this process upskills support workers and helps to embed a trusted system used by Smallwood for many years.

The Community Grant Partnership (CGP) Programme is a core part of Smallwood’s grant-making portfolio. It represents 30% of our current annual spending, and provides targeted support for women most at risk of poverty including: Black, Asian and minoritised women, disabled women, young women and women with no recourse to public funds.

Alongside this re-funding, we have announced Round 1 of the Women’s Urgent Support Fund supported by over £3.2 million of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to respond to the cost- of-living crisis.

Developing an ‘eco system’ of support during the cost-of-living-crisis
The CGP programme is part of Smallwood’s growing ‘eco-system’ of funding to individuals, service delivery organisations, and policy and influencing activities. Yet, there is still a long tail of financial uncertainty for many women. We understand the crucial role funders can and must play in response to the cost-of-living-crisis. It is Smallwood’s responsibility as a specialist women’s grant-maker to respond to the specific needs of women’s organisations, and the many women they serve who continue to face so much financial uncertainty at this time of crisis.

What will the money be going toward?
Dispersing individual grants will greatly compliment services already being offered by our grant partners. Partners have the flexibility to align this programme where the need for grants is most prevalent.

For partners such as Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA), the grant will enable them to provide resettlement grants to women and their children fleeing domestic and sexual abuse, which helps support them through this pivotal, transitional time. The organisation also has plans to extend hardship grants into the Home Options Hub which supports women with homelessness prevention. 

“Thank you so much for the award of this grant. This funding for the women and children we support couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. It will make such a difference.” – Sally Dennis, Project Manager at BSWA.

Supporting women to escape abuse is a common thread throughout the programme. Partners such as Savera UK will be working with women who have experienced ‘honour’ based abuse, and grants represent vital support while women await support from local authorities and have no means to independent living.  Savera are now able to provide some financial assistance to fill this gap. 

“Thank you so much for your email and the great news about the funding, we are delighted and over the moon to hear this. Smallwood have been a great support and allow us to respond in the best ways to our clients’ needs.” – Afrah Qassim, CEO at Savera UK.

In other cases, the programme will support women in refuge who are at risk of homelessness due to financial difficulties and are looking to secure stable accommodation. The grants will provide partners like Staffordshire Women’s Aid with the opportunity to respond practically and quickly to women’s financial needs, relieving pressure which has greatly reduced the anxiety and stress experienced by women on low incomes, and those who have arrears/debts. 

“This is fantastic news and will make a real difference to the women we support.” – Charlotte Almond, CEO at Staffordshire Women’s Aid.

For many, providing much needed ‘breathing space’ means women are more able to focus on other areas in their lives, such as recovery from abuse or maximising their engagement with specialist support resulting in better longer-term outcomes.  Partners such as the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) view grants as a crucial part of supporting women leaving prison and their loved ones. PACT’s Emergency Welfare Fund represents a lifeline for women who are making difficult transitions back into the community.

“Many of the women we support that are preparing to leave prison feel as though they’re being set up to fail. The financial barriers they’re facing on release often feel completely insurmountable. These small grants offer them solutions, and hope for a fresh start. They’ll help to improve outcomes for women leaving prison, their families, children, and our communities. We are profoundly grateful for that.” – Sophie McKane, Deputy Head of Fundraising at PACT.

To read more insight provided by our Community Grant Partners you can look to this article about the impact of the cost of living crisis, and see our latest news page for detailed ‘spotlight’ interviews.

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