We are happy to announce £180,000 of grants for 20 new projects across England. The grants are awarded under the Women First Innovation Fund that was launched earlier this year and is part funded by the Tampon Tax Fund. The 20 projects have been awarded seed funding of between £5,000 and £10,000 over 12 months for imaginative and new ideas that help to build the skills, confidence and aspirations of women on low incomes to enable them to enter into employment. These include projects working with survivors of domestic violence, women leaving the criminal justice system and women with disabilities in areas such as Skegness, Liverpool, Birmingham, Northumberland, Hull and Exeter.
The awards include £5,000 to Mettle Workers, a start-up project based in Merseyside providing one to one coaching with women caught between caring for aging parents and dependent children meaning they have had to leave their jobs and careers, but are too young to retire. The funding will support women in rebuilding lost confidence, setting new goals and encouraging their employment in challenging and fulfilling roles.
Another project that has been funded is the Sowing Aston Project at Saathi House in Birmingham. This project has been awarded £9,900 to pilot a scheme that utilises a “learn, create and sell” approach to provide support and resources for women to design, grow and sell their own food. The project will provide opportunities for local women (predominately from Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities) to gain new skills, including in social enterprise, as the produce is sold at a Saathi House market. The project aims to increase women’s financial resilience and think more positively about their futures.
The funding will support the Sophie Hayes Foundation to expand their Day 46 programme to Birmingham. The programme works with survivors of trafficking and aims to interrupt the cycle of exploitation through confidence building and getting survivors into education, training or work. The project will help 40 survivors of trafficking lead an independent and free future.
Paul Carbury, CEO at The Smallwood Trust said, “We are excited by the new projects we have funded and look forward to helping them to reach an additional 1,340 women from some of the most deprived areas of the UK”.
You can find a full list of the grants made here.