Over £440k awarded in first round of Women’s Sector Resilience Fund

We are pleased to announce that over £440k of grants have been awarded to 16 organisations during the first round of our Women’s Sector Resilience Fund.

The Fund has been created with the support of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to help safeguard the vital frontline jobs and support services of women’s organisations that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in England.

Note: grants totalling £1.5m are still to be awarded on an ongoing basis so please apply here now.

Recent research has revealed that 70% of women’s organisations fear for their survival and that the economic impacts of the pandemic are likely to push many more women, who already make up the majority of low-earners, into poverty.

The organisations that have received grants (averaging £28k each) are:

InSpire at St Peters work with a key beneficiary group and their activities of supporting young single mums to have safer housing, advocate for their rights and navigate the benefits system align strongly with Smallwood’s mission.

Funding would ensure essential services are safeguarded in an area particularly affected by COVID-19 where the young women InSpire work with are both single mums and are from BAME backgrounds – some of those most affected.

SAMEE provide self-employment support services to women with disabilities in Bournemouth helping women set up their own businesses. Funding would help SAMEE to increase capacity and remain responsive to those women most at risk of poverty due to the pandemic.

Women’s Health in South Tyneside (WHIST) support older women and women with physical, and mental health issues and women with disabilities in South Tyneside with a mission to improve health, wellbeing and education outcomes.

Funding would enable WHIST to continue to be responsive to meet increased demand from women who are being disproportionately affected by the crisis.

Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) provide nationwide advice, training and awareness raising on economic abuse and its impact on women’s financial resilience. Funds would fill a funding shortfall that SEA face due to a loss of earned and fundraised income during COVID-19.

Funds would enable SEA to safeguard jobs and continue their work with survivors of economic abuse.

Zinthiya Trust are a specialist women’s organisation in Leicester providing financial education, advice and support to help women overcome crisis and improve their financial resilience.

Funding would enable the Zinthiya Trust to continue to be responsive to meet increased demand from women who are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Winner, Preston Road Women’s Centre, are a women only centre in Hull and an important provider of housing for women surviving abuse. They provide a wrap-around service helping women to secure housing, supporting them on their employment pathway and journey towards financial resilience.

Funds would safeguard three essential frontline job roles.

Staffordshire Women’s Aid support women survivors of domestic abuse to seek refuge and resettlement support, helping them to safety and building their financial and emotional resilience.

SWA are providing services and support for vulnerable women, for which they have seen a sharp increase in demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Exeter CoLab’s Resilient Women programme supports women involved in the criminal justice system, experiencing homelessness and multiple complex needs to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to plan a more resilient future.

Funds will ensure women at the most risk of poverty and financial hardship due to the pandemic, can access vital frontline services.

My Sister’s Place (MSP) are a ‘one stop shop’ for women surviving domestic abuse. They provide housing support, money advice and advocacy services for the women they support to ensure positive and sustained outcomes.

Funding will ensure that essential services are safeguarded, and MSP can keep responding to need.

Alice’s Family Support programme is a collaborative and community-focused service providing proactive, integrated, and preventative support to help build resilience for vulnerable and disadvantaged women and their children within the local area.

Funding will enable Alice to meet increased demand from women who are being disproportionately affected by the crisis and connect communities.

Pathway Project. Pathway provide a 24-hour helpline, refuge and resettlement support for women surviving abuse and help to rebuild their pathway towards financial resilience, independence and choice.

Funding would help Pathway to remain responsive to the increase in demand for their services – up 30% (including a 13% increase in BAME women) on the same period last year.

Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) are the umbrella body for the women’s sector in England providing key capacity building, advice and funding information and services.

Funds would help the WRC to continue to connect the women’s sector in the UK and support organisations to work together to respond to COVID-19.

Sophie Hayes Foundation is the only UK organisation, solely focussed on helping women survivors of trafficking and slavery return to productive lives through employability training, work and education placements and coaching.

Frontline roles would be safeguarded ensuring women at most risk due to the pandemic are able to access support.

ARCH Teesside. ARCH’s LESA service helps women in Middlesbrough with the pillars of financial stability and resilience by supporting women with housing, returning to work, qualifications and training and money management.

Funding would safeguard essential services and make ARCH more sustainable in the medium term.

Venus Charity are a women specific service serving the community in Bootle and providing a range of wrap-around support including money management, employability advice, homelessness support and volunteering placements.

Funding would ensure essential services are safeguarded and can continue to be responsive to meet increased demand from women who are being disproportionately affected by the crisis.

Women’s Budget Group (WBG) provide analysis and research working towards a gender equal economy, including providing data to and for the women’s sector.

Funds would help WBG meet an increase in demand due to the pandemic. WBG has been analysing the gendered impacts of COVID-19 since late March as well as modelling proposals for economic recovery post COVID-19.

Emma Crump, Head of Evaluation at the Smallwood Trust said, “We are delighted with the response to the fund and also with the quick turnaround that has seen the awarding of these grants to organisations that are supporting financially vulnerable women through this critical time.

“We still have a limited number of grants to award so we encourage organisations to apply as soon as they can to give them the best chance of receiving funding.”

For more information on the Women’s Sector Resilience Fund visit:

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