International Women’s Day 2024: Inspire Inclusion

This International Women’s Day we celebrate the work of Smallwood Trust grant partners in inspiring the inclusion of women across the UK and reflect on the power of grant-making to #InspireInclusion.

Expanding the Women’s Urgent Support Fund Round 1

As part of our 2024 International Women’s Day celebrations, we are thrilled to announce that the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has awarded a further £2.6 million to the Women’s Urgent Support Fund to safeguard frontline women’s organisations during the cost-of-living crisis.

As a result, the Women’s Urgent Support Fund is now comprised of £5.8 million across Round 1 and 2, and the grant will enable Smallwood to increase our reach across both of these opportunities.

Thanks to National Lottery players, Smallwood will be able to award additional grants so women most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis can access the support they need. In total, the additional grant will safeguard approximately 32 organisations over the next 3 years.

You can read more about our current grant partners from the Women’s Urgent Support Fund Round 1 here. 

Round 2 of this Fund will award £2.3 million and is set to go live shortly. It will continue to safeguard frontline women’s organisations against rising costs.

Overall it is estimated that over 20,000 women most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis will be reached by 2027.

How does our grant-making #InspireInclusion?

The inclusion of women’s voices and experiences has been a core part of Smallwood’s mission since we began in 1886, and we are proud to be funding a strong network of women’s organisations and services that reflect this. 

Over the next 3 years we aim to award £12 million of our own and external funds toward grant-making programmes that centre the needs of women experiencing financial insecurity and the organisations that support them. Smallwood currently funds over 80 women-led organisations all working to reduce gendered poverty and enable women to be financially resilient. 

Our selected partners work on the frontline, campaign for women’s rights and tackle the root causes of gendered poverty to ensure the needs and aspirations of women experiencing financial insecurity are heard. 

The diverse nature of our funding programmes mean that our partners can simultaneously work across different areas of inclusion, including:

  • Supporting women’s economic empowerment
  • Recruiting and retaining talented women to their staff team
  • Bringing women with lived experience into leadership and decision-making
  • Providing women with training and education 
  • Keeping women and their children safe from abuse and exploitation

As a specialist women’s funder, we believe that all organisations and individuals can play a part in inspiring the inclusion of women within all levels of society. We extend a thank you to the National Lottery Community Fund for being part of this collective effort.

Smallwood’s grant-making programmes will always strive toward a society in which women’s contributions are equally valued and women can have a secure financial future.

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest non-statutory community funder in the UK – community is at the heart of our purpose, vision and name.  

We support activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable and that will strengthen society and improve lives across the UK. 

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.   

As well as responding to what communities tell us is important to them, our funding is focused on four key missions, supporting communities to:  

  1. Come together 
  2. Be environmentally sustainable 
  3. Help children and young people thrive 
  4. Enable people to live healthier lives. 

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, we distribute around £500 million a year through 10,000+ grants and plan to invest over £4 billion of funding into communities by 2030. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.   

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £47 billion has been raised and more than 670,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 240 National Lottery grants in every UK postcode district. 


About the Smallwood Trust

The Smallwood Trust has been helping women across the UK out of poverty for 136 years. Our programmes provide grant funding and support to enable women to become financially resilient and to ensure economic systems work for them rather than against them. Half of the UK population are women – therefore our approach not only matters for individual women, enabling them to thrive economically and overcome financially stressful events, it is also critical for the UK economy. 

While we will continue to meet the immediate needs of women facing financial insecurity, we will also increasingly focus on tackling the systems that cause gendered poverty.

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