Gendered Poverty Learning Programme: Local Area Coordinators

Smallwood is delighted to announce a new partnership with 4 organisations who will support our learning in how to collectively build power and influence within the women’s sector. This initiative is part of our Gendered Poverty Learning Programme (GPLP), which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK.

The 4 partners will act as Local Area Coordinators and support Smallwood to meet the goals of:

  1. Co-ordinating learning and capacity building locally
  2. Informing approaches to and influencing systemic change

Over the next two years the Coordinators aim to identify ways of working and movement building that can be scaled to tackle gendered poverty and build resilient local networks to help respond and recover from crises e.g. COVID, cost-of-living crisis, economic shocks and endemic violence against women.

Who are the partners?

Zinthiya Trust, who will be coordinating local learning in Leicester and Leicestershire and leading the Transform – Leicester Leicestershire Women’s Network.  This network aims to build the capacity of Black and Minoritised Ethnic led organisations, enabling them to engage with the corridors of power to address the structural inequalities facing racially marginalised women and influence change.

Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, Founder and CEO of the Zinthiya Trust shares that the network will seek to “foster a diverse and thriving women’s sector that shares resources and expertise as well as engage with decision-makers to ensure issues relevant to our beneficiaries are addressed” as well as advocating for “fair access to sustainable funding” for network members.”

Transform – Leicester Leicestershire Women’s Network currently has 5 members and the network will open to other members in the new year. For more information on this please contact

Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, who will be coordinating local learning in and around London and leading the Network of East and Southeast Asian Women. Lorie Halliday, Director of the Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, hopes that the network will be “a dynamic force that not only advocates for the rights and well-being of East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) women but also brings about tangible change in the communities we serve.”

 This network aims to build awareness of this group of women’s rights to economic and social justice, and how the socio-economic challenges further impact the oppression and exploitation of women. Beyond the duration of the Smallwood partnership, Lorie shares that the network will invest in “laying the foundation for a sustainable and impactful movement that will endure long into the future. This support is not just an investment in the present – it is an investment in the potential of generations to come.”

Agenda Alliance, who will be coordinating local learning in the North- East and leading the Leveling Up Public Services for Women in the North East Network. This network aims to coordinate learning on the implementation of the development of local strategies and services that genuinely meet the needs of women facing multiple disadvantages, living in poverty. This work builds upon the policy recommendations identified by the Smallwood-funded Transforming Services for Women’s Future Project (2023).

Indy Cross, CEO at Agenda, and Laura McIntyre, Head of Women’s and Children’s Services at Changing Lives, identify that “women at the sharpest edge of inequality are missing out on vital support with devastating consequences; as such, public services must be transformed to better meet the needs of the most at-risk women and their children.” In order to close this gap in provision, Agenda and Changing Lives will spend the next two years “developing and nurturing this network in order to achieve regional change for women.”  

Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA), who will be coordinating local learning through the Brighton & Hove Women’s Economic Safety Network: Compass Project Partnership which aims to identify and develop best practise approaches that can be replicated to improve social and economic outcomes for women. They will be specialising in economic abuse, both with building the capacity of small grassroots organisations in this area and collectively towards a coordinated local response among the multiple stakeholders of Brighton & Hove. 

Reflecting on the partnership, Sonu Masania, Head of Specialist Team and Survivor Engagement at SEA notes that “the cost-of-living crisis has been catastrophic for women who have been left without the financial means to escape domestic abuse” and the funding will bring about a much needed “coordinated community response, to help women increase their economic safety and rebuild their lives after abuse.”

How will Smallwood work together with Local Area Coordinators?

Throughout the partnership duration, Rutendo Ngwena, the GPLP Programme Manager will be providing dedicated support to the Coordinators by connecting them with one another, other Smallwood partners and national policy organisations. 

As part of the GPLP, Rutendo will be sharing learning from the breadth of Smallwood’s work with other funders and stakeholders. There will be a dedicated stream of updates from the GPLP that you can keep up with on our website, our Twitter or by signing up to our newsletter.

If you’d like to learn more about Smallwood’s delivery partners or the Gendered Poverty Learning Programme more widely, you can contact Rutendo at 

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