Community Grant Partnerships: Cavell Nurses Trust

To highlight the importance of our Community Grant Partnership programme, we take a look at how Smallwood’s collaboration with Cavell Nurses is helping female nursing professionals become more financially resilient since they were awarded £75,000 in late-2020.

The Cavell Nurses Trust help nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, both working and retired, when they’re suffering personal or financial hardship. This is often due to illness, disability, older age and domestic abuse. The size of this community is a huge 2.27 million with 89% being women.

Over the next three years, Cavell will use their grant to specifically support women who are currently not working or retired in a number of ways, including:

  • One-off grants to quickly relieve financial hardship
  • Rapid emergency funding for those at great risk
  • Emotional support for those in crisis
  • Advice on maximising benefits
  • Signposting to specialist services

John Orchard, CEO of the Cavell Nurses Trust, said: “One of the things that drew us to Smallwood was the fact that supporting particular professions can be a different and very effective way of reaching beneficiaries. In our circumstances, Nursing is a large workforce that is predominantly female.”

Mission alignment

Smallwood were particularly interested in working with Cavell after they submitted research detailing the issues that members of the workforce faced, including:

  • Being twice as likely to face financial hardship compared to the general public
  • Being three times as likely to be a victim of domestic abuse
  • Only 61% described their health as good (this is 74% in the general public)
  • 42.5% have a physical or mental health condition they expect to last longer than a year. This is 34% in the general public.

In addition to this, a survey exploring how financially resilient nursing professionals felt reported that 77% were unprepared for a financial crisis. This is made more significant given that 57% of workers are providing the primary income for their household.

John Orchard added: “The partnership is important because the degree of overlap in what we are both trying to achieve is really significant.’

Progress so far

Cavell are only a few quarters into their three year project but they have reported being ahead of their target for the number of people that they have set out to reach with 47 beneficiaries to date.

The main issues grants have been awarded for include: financial crisis, living costs and mental health issues.

Cavell have also reported that the early response from the beneficiaries has been good with the following feedback received:

“Thank you so so so much for your generosity! You don’t know how much this means to me and the stress it has taken off me! I am literally in tears but for once happy tears!”

“Thank you so much for your kindness and for doing your utmost in trying to help me during these difficult times. It was greatly appreciated not just by me, but by my family also. You went above and beyond and it’s with heartfelt thanks that I send this email to you.”

“Thank you so much for your support. You have no idea how this has helped me and my son. It put at ease in my head and lifted up some pressures of my other bills. I really appreciate all your support and you have provided us help as soon as you can. That is very kind of you. Thank you again and stay safe.”

In the next few months, Cavell will produce an Impact Report explaining how this project has affected its beneficiaries in more detail.

Looking ahead

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated gendered poverty with the demand for support far outweighing the funding being made available to the women’s sector.

Collaborations such as these will only help both Smallwood and Cavell learn how to identify and reach more beneficiaries in order to support future programmes that can provide longer-term support.

John Orchard picks out one of the key takeaways this partnership has already provided to Cavell: “We can now approach different funders and not just present ourselves as an organisation for nurses but as a large group of women facing specific issues. Hopefully, other organisations will reach out to Smallwood in the same way.”

Paul Carbury, Chief Executive of the Smallwood Trust, concludes: “Partnerships like these are crucial in showing both funders and support organisations how different grant-making strategies can open up new opportunities to help women become more financially resilient. This will be vital in tackling gendered poverty in the future.”

For more information of the Cavell Nurses Trust visit:

Information on future Community Grant Partner opportunities will be available on this website in due course.

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