Transforming our grant-making to individuals

8 February 2019

For 130 years, the Smallwood Trust has been helping women on low incomes to become financially resilient. We do this by providing grants to both individuals and organisations to help women overcome financial adversity, improve their well-being and equip them with the skills to secure a confident financial future. 

Over the last century we have had to adapt to many changes.

In order to remain relevant, responsive and to maximise our impact, we are now transforming our grant-making to individuals. Both our own experience and independent research has found that small amounts of financial assistance can ease pressure, enabling women to focus on other areas of their lives and giving them a greater sense of control. When frontline organisations provide financial assistance, they report the relationship between themselves and the beneficiary significantly improves.

To reflect this, we will transform our grant-making to individuals by:

·         Providing more flexible grants to individuals that respond to women’s individual circumstances and are targeted at removing barriers. Over the past 12 months we have piloted this approach with three partners and have found that flexible grants have been instrumental in providing a step-change for financially vulnerable women – in some cases, this has been life-changing.

·         By 2021, our individual grants programme will transform into a community-led programme with frontline organisations distributing the grants on our behalf. This will shift the power for decision making to those directly supporting financially vulnerable women. Smallwood Trust will provide the funds, including those to administer the grants, a toolkit, model and support. The community-grant partners will provide practical 1-2-1 support and award grants to women, informed by their individual circumstances and need.

This model of funding and 1-2-1 support for financially vulnerable women will be centred on the key drivers of stability such as; housing, financial stability, employment stability and mental health and wellbeing.

Over the next two years we, whilst we migrate to the community-led individual grants programme, we will continue to award grants to individuals direct from our HQ. Any individuals who might be eligible for a grant can visit https://www.smallwoodtrust.org.uk/flexible-response-fund for more information.

For frontline organisations working in areas of need and/or reaching the most financially vulnerable women, you can find out more about our upcoming community-led individual grants programme by contacting emmacrump@smallwoodtrust.org.uk.