Place-based Change

One of our headline priorities in our current strategy is to develop workable place-based models that tackle the root causes of gendered poverty. These models should have the potential to scale or be adopted elsewhere. We are taking a ‘test and learn’ approach to this funding of what works and what doesn’t work and aim to work collaboratively with other funders and stakeholders in our learning.

We are currently funding a number of place-based programmes with the aim of challenging, reforming and improving the systems that contribute to gendered poverty which are listed below:

Middlesbrough Collaboration

In 2022 Smallwood Trust, alongside Buttle UK and Turn2us, set up a new local programme in Middlesbrough, working in a highly collaborative way with local mothers to provide money and support aimed at transforming their lives and the lives of their children. 

We know women and children are more likely to live in poverty, and women from racially-minoritised groups, Disabled women, women with caring responsibilities and trans and non-binary people are more likely to face financial insecurity. We also know caring for children can leave women at greater risk of poverty.

Middlesbrough was chosen because of the unique combination of challenges women and children face, including the highest proportion of children in poverty in England and high levels of domestic violence.  

The aim of our programme is to test whether a collaborative approach (working together with other grant makers and community organisations) can transform the lives of women and their children and to look at grant-making in a different way, shifting power to people in local communities so they can decide who it helps and how it works. 

Programme duration: January 2022 – December 2026

Funded by: Smallwood Trust, Turn2Us and Buttle UK

Women of Wythenshawe (WoW)

Women of Wythenshawe (WoW) aims to bring women together from different backgrounds, focusing on shared goals and the place that they have in common to achieve better outcomes. The network aims to achieve as rich and broad a diversity of members as possible including a range of ages, ethnic backgrounds, and different kinds of experiences.

After witnessing a gradual breakdown in community relations and trust between people and across neighbourhoods in Wythenshawe over the past twenty years. The network seeks to bring low-income women into dialogue with each other and identify critical challenges that are holding them in poverty. The group will prioritise issues that are acute or cross-cutting, and co-produce solutions with professionals with access to the power and relationships that low-income women need to achieve lasting change. 

WoW’s approach will be driven from the bottom up through the process of dialogue, peer exchange, confidence building, leadership development and enabling. Network partners recognise that women’s voices and experience are critical to long-term success in reducing gendered poverty and improving wellbeing among low-income women in Wythenshawe.

Programme duration: September 2022 – August 2025

Funded by: Smallwood Trust

Birmingham No Recourse to Public Funds

Birmingham No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Women’s Support Network

Birmingham NRPF Women’s Support Network (NRPF Network) works with women who are victims of abuse (domestic violence, coercive control, forced marriages etc.) and who have no recourse to public funds, or insecure immigration status, all of which impacts on their financial resilience. The NRPF Network includes Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (lead partner), Roshni, Baobab, Refugee and Migrant Centre, British Red Cross, and Central England Law Centre Birmingham who bring together varied skills and expertise.

The aim of the programme is to establish an effective referral pathway for women accessing one or more of the partners’ services; to develop a coordinated action plan to influence change at local and, where possible, national level; and to establish a women’s advisory group (the voice of lived experience), which can steer the plans for change and eventually influence policy and processes.

Programme duration: August 2022 – August 2025

Funded by: Smallwood Trust

Coventry Women’s Partnership

The Coventry Women’s Partnership first came together in 2018 and have reached over 1,500 women. The Partnership was initially set up to take a place-based approach in response to poor economic outcomes for women in Coventry, and the need to join up women’s sector organisations and enable seamless referrals. Working together since the pilot, the Coventry-based organisations collaborate to provide a holistic, joined up, and needs-led service for women in the area. Their collective aim is to coordinate the partner’s work to improve referrals, ensure the needs of women are understood and matched up to the appropriate services and to improve the retention of women once they engage.

Together they continue to understand their routes for local systems change for women in and around the city including their campaign that a Cabinet Member for Women is a much-needed strategic requirement to scrutinise policies, processes, and services across the local authority with a clear gender informed perspective.

The five delivery partners, all based in Coventry are:

  • Foleshill Women’s Training (FWT) provide women only education, training, healthcare and employment support services. FWT is the lead partner in the Partnership and has a designated Partnership Manager within the organisation.
  • Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) provide specialist support for adults and children who have been impacted by sexual abuse in their lives. They also offer pre-therapy support for women on waiting lists for services.
  • Kairos WWT (Women Working Together) give support to and advocate for women who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, as well as providing the housing service ‘A Home of Her Own’.
  • Coventry Haven Women’s Aid (Coventry Haven) give specialist support to victims of domestic violence and abuse including providing safe accommodation.
  • Central England Law Centre – Coventry (CELC) provide specialist legal advice to those most in need and use legal processes to fight inequality. Their role in the partnership is focused on legal support for issues that primarily impact women.

Programme duration: July 2017 – August 2025

Funded by: Smallwood Trust

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