Women’s Urgent Support Fund – OPEN

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The Women’s Urgent Support Fund is supported by over £5.4 million of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to respond to the cost-of-living crisis. Thanks to National Lottery players, £5.43 million will be awarded in grants to c.100 small, local community organisations led by and serving women, enabling 20,000 women to access vital specialist support services over five years.

The Women’s Urgent Support Fund Round 2 is a continuation of Round 1 and will support organisations providing frontline services for women to manage the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

We will be hosting a number of ‘How to Apply’ webinars to support applicants to understand whether this is the right opportunity for them, and answer any questions that have not been covered in the guidance notes. All webinars will have BSL interpretation.

These will take place on the following dates. Follow the links below to book:

Round 2 will:

Provide funding over 3 years for organisations delivering frontline services with an income of £1,000,000 or less that are led by, for and/or supporting women enabling them to respond to the spike in demand of priority basic needs from women who are most at risk of poverty, because of the cost-of-living-crisis.

The core objectives of the fund are:

  1. Frontline organisations led by and/or supporting women can respond to an identified increase in demand, brought on by the cost-of-living crisis
  2. Frontline organisations can meet the basic priority needs of women at most risk of poverty, because of the cost-of-living crisis
  3. Frontline organisations led by and/or supporting women will be strengthened during the cost-of-living crisis

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from organisations who are:

  • Are delivering frontline services led by, for and/or serving women
  • Are responding to identified need and demand as a result of the cost-of-living crisis
  • Are based in England, especially those within our priority geographical areas
  • With a turnover of less than £1,000,000

Priority Groups

The fund aims to support women most impacted by poverty and the cost-of-living crisis. As a result, we will be prioritising organisations and/or services supporting the following groups:

  • Women experiencing racial inequality
  • Disabled women
  • Women with No Recourse to Public Funds
  • Women that are the sole parent to children under 18 years
  • LGBTQ+ communities experiencing financial insecurity.

We aim to commit at least 50% of grants to projects that support women experiencing racial inequality and/or disabled women.

We encourage applications from eligible smaller organisations that fall within the Fund criteria and Smallwood’s mission on gendered poverty and will do what we can to support capacity building or non-financial needs as they emerge throughout the programme.

What will we fund?

Our aim is to continue to protect essential services for women most impacted by poverty and the cost-of-living crisis that we know is disproportionately affecting women and the organisations supporting them.

Funds can pay for core and frontline staff salaries, running costs/overheads, services and goods, and other organisational costs that will help meet the aims of the fund. You can view more details in the guidance notes [linked]

How much can I apply for?

Funding in Round 2 is for grants between £15,000 and £60,000 to be phased over 3 years. There is no minimum application amount. Funds must be spent by November /December 2027.

How many grants will be made?

Round 2 will award £2.2 million to c.35 organisations. Funds will enable them to respond to the spike in demand for urgent and basic needs from women who are most at risk of poverty.

Based on our experience awarding funding through Round 1, we know that the Women’s Urgent Support Fund is highly competitive. During Round 1 we received 475 applications and we able to fund 63 organisations.

We anticipate the Women’s Urgent Support Fund Round 2 will produce similar demand and encourage applicants to read the guidance notes carefully before submitting an application.

Our grants team will work hard to respond to applicant queries so organisations can make confident and informed decisions.

How to apply

Round 2 is a two-stage application process:

Stage 1:  Complete an online Expression of Interest Form

Stage 2: Smallwood will invite c.100 organisations to submit a full application

The Expression of Interest Form is designed to be a simple first stage in which we ask you to provide some information about your organisation, the women you work with, and what you’d like to do with the funding.

Please note that you cannot save this online form and come back to it later. We recommend that you have your final answers ready before you complete this form.

Forms must be submitted by 5pm on 21st June 2024.  

We urge you to contact us if you have any queries about submitting an Expression of Interest form. Please email Rosie Learmonth at grants@smallwoodtrust.org.uk if you’d like to speak with one of our Grants Managers. Please use ‘WUSF2’ as the email subject line and provide your organisation, contact name and contact number so we can get back to you.

If you are interested in applying, you can find the guidance notes, FAQ and Expression of Interest form below:

Expression of Interest Guidance Notes

Expression of Interest Form

Frequently Asked Questions

You can also submit your Expression of Interest as a video or audio file. You can find instructions on how to do that here.

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The fund will support organisations providing frontline services for women to manage the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

The programme will provide emergency funding for organisations delivering frontline services and is led by, for and/or serving women enabling them to respond to the spike in demand of priority basic needs from women who are most at risk of poverty, because of the cost-of-living-crisis.

23 organisations were funded by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF) in September 2023 to enable the continuation of services and to support women who are affected by the cost-of-living-crisis. A further 8 organisations have also been funded for this work directly by Smallwood Trust.

Programme duration: April 2023 – April 2028

Funded by: The National Lottery Community Fund

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