New name and strategy

13 September 2017

Honouring our heritage

We have had to adapt to many changes over the last century, and we are now changing again to put a greater focus on helping women become financially independent. We have a new name - the Smallwood Trust - in honour of our inspirational founder, Edith Smallwood and a new strapline: "enabling women to be financially resilient". With our new name and focus we are aiming to award around £5 million of life-changing funds to support women out of poverty in the next five years.

Edith Smallwood was an incredible woman. When she founded the charity under its former name of the Society for the Assistance for Ladies in Reduced Circumstances in 1886, she saw it as her duty to help those less fortunate than herself. She began collecting small sums of money to benefit women who, through ill-health or old age, were unable to support themselves. From these small beginnings an endowment was created, the income from which still supports hundreds of women today.

More than 130 years later, the work of the Smallwood Trust is more relevant than ever.

New strategy

The Trustees have agreed a new five-year plan to enable 7,000 additional women to build a confident, positive and secure future. The Trustees have identified three ways to maximise impact:

1. Direct funding and support for individuals

Grants for living expenses to help women overcome crises and where they are struggling to make ends meet. As well as the grants that are delivered from Smallwood Trust HQ, we are piloting making grants to individuals through two intermediary organisations, one being an incentive scheme to help women access jobs and the other to support women in or leaving the criminal justice system.

Later this year, the Trust will also consider introducing a telephone helpline to provide women with access to debt advice and welfare benefits information to complement the cash grants.

2. Funding for voluntary sector organisations

Grants to organisations for projects that are developing innovative ways to help women along the employment pathway. Over the past year we have funded 13 organisations, who together are supporting more than 1,000 women. One example of a project we have recently approved funding for is the Coventry Women's Partnership, a consortium of six organisations who are developing a city-wide initiative to enable 300 women to access employment, skills and confidence building opportunities.

3. Funding for policy and research

Grants to voluntary sector organisations who are undertaking practical policy initiatives leading to improved economic and social outcomes for women. Under this theme, we have awarded a grant to the Fawcett Society to enable women in the devolved regions of Greater Manchester and the Midlands to effectively make their voices heard and influence the decisions about public services that affect their lives.

Working in partnership

As we look to substantially increase the number of beneficiaries we support, the Trustees wish to develop a collaborative approach and be able to partner with others who share similar long term goals of increasing social change for women in poverty.

Paul Carbury, CEO of the Trust said "We've begun to streamline our processes to enable more women to access our funds and we have funded a promising set of employability projects. A key focus for us now is to develop our evaluation systems so we can understand better 'what works' and help identify and support good practice so more women can benefit from Smallwood Trust funding."

Getting in touch

If you would like to find out more about our work, please contact our Chief Executive Paul Carbury paulcarbury@smallwoodtrust.org.uk