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Cost of Living Fund Update

During June 2022, the Smallwood Trust began our Cost of Living Fund. This was in response to a large increase in women requesting support to help with rising costs, such as energy bills, fuel prices, food and basic essentials. 

Why we’re doing it

We know that certain groups of women are disproportionately affected by the Cost of Living crisis. As a result of this, the fund has a particular focus on the following:

  • Women that are single parents
  • Disabled women
  • Women with no recourse to public funds
  • Women who are or who have been affected by domestic violence or abuse
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women

The backbone of our grants to individuals programme is to help women be financially resilient and deal with financial shocks. This is paramount as women continue to shoulder multiple crises.

A new way of working

The Cost of Living Fund also represented a transformation of our grants to individuals programme. We are working with a selected group of referral organisations who are supported by our grants team to give direct financial aid alongside their current services for women. 

Smallwood are currently working with c.30 referral partners situated across the UK. This approach echoes the principles of our Community Grant Partnership programme which determines collaborative working to have the greatest impact on reaching women affected by gendered poverty. 

The impact 

Many of our referral partners have seen women relying on oversubscribed food banks in order to feed their family, to pay their bills and feeling as though their life is increasingly slipping into financial chaos. Through the help of the Cost of Living Fund mothers are able to stock their cupboards and feed their children three meals a day without compromising their own intake of food. Women have managed to relieve themselves of long standing debt, and are grateful to have had their difficult circumstances fully acknowledged for the first time. 

An immediate injection of funds through the Cost of Living Fund has sustained a sense of dignity and wellbeing as women are able to stock their cupboards and create a safe environment for their children amidst much uncertainty.

The numbers (up until 7th October 2022)

Since its inception the Cost of Living Fund has awarded 186 grants to women on low incomes across the UK. By December we aim to award £250k through this programme.

The groups of women awarded with grants to date are:

  • Women that are single parents: 66% 
  • Women who are or who have been affected by domestic violence or abuse: 60% 
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women: 39% 
  • Disabled women: 30% 
  • Women with no recourse to public funds: 11%

The Smallwood Trust is committed to ending gendered poverty in the UK and we will continue to respond to a rapidly changing economic landscape. You can find out more about our Cost of Living Fund here. We have also conducted a report on how the cost of living crisis is impacting our partner organisations and the woman they support – you can read this here.

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