The Empowering Women Fund


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The Empowering Women Fund, part of the Labyrinth Project, is a Tampon Tax funded grant scheme, led by Solace. It provides funding to support small women’s groups and organisations to develop innovative ways of empowering women in their local area and build the capacity of small organisations.

Many women’s lives are complex, and they often have tangled paths through systems, structures and communities to access the support needed to live safe, independent lives. Research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that women are facing the additional burden of unemployment, childcare and economic distress. UN Women acknowledged that ‘the pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.’ (UN Women, 2020).

Women have always joined together to support each other through difficult times and hardship. Sometimes to provide practical help, other times to give space to reflect and grow, and often to just pursue common interests and companionship.

 

The outcome has now been finalised, enabling 41 organisations in the UK to deliver life-saving support to women. Thanks to a grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Solace has been able to award a total of £300,000 to organisations and projects working to support women across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland through the Labyrinth Project.

The funded projects have identified and are responding to a significant increase in need within their community. Mental health and wellbeing are a particular concern, making up over half of all projects, followed by employment and violence against women and girls (VAWG).

An important aspect of this fund is to reach a diverse collection of women – 53% of projects are run by and for marginalised communities and funding is spread across small and medium organisations in the three nations.

Funded projects

Below is a list of the projects and organisations awarded a grant by the Empowering Women Fund.

Grantee stories 

Women's Sector Grants


ACCM (UK) 

Hope and Better Safe Life Away from Harm
Grant Amount: £14,780.00
Location: England
Theme: Domestic Abuse/Violence Against Women and Girls

ACCM (UK) Works with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to bring about positive social change and is committed to eliminating all harmful traditional and discriminatory practices that violate the Human Rights of girls and women, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), forced arranged marriage (FAM) and honour-based violence (HBV) that are forms of domestic violence (DV). The funding will be used to support girls and women fleeing all forms of abuse and victims of domestic violence through advice, information, training and counselling to build their confidence and skills so they can rebuild their lives and that of their children.

Argyll & Bute Rape Crisis

Therapeutic Crafts
Grant Amount: £4,986.00
Location: Scotland
Theme: Domestic Abuse/Violence Against Women and Girls

Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis (ABRC) provides free and confidential support and advocacy to people of any gender (aged 12 years and older) who have experienced rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual bullying, stalking and commercial sexual exploitation – whether this is recent or historic. The funding will be used to develop a Therapeutic Craft programme to be delivered to survivors who use the service, and women and girls who have additional complex needs.

Atlas Women's Centre

Lady Labyrinth...Mind..Body..Spirit
Grant Amount: £16,444.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Building Confidence

Atlas Women’s Centre is a safe, inclusive community learning centre that provides Adult Training, Learning and Support to vulnerable and disadvantaged women and families. The centre offers a wide variety of educational programmes and activities to build confidence, life and work skills, promote mental health and emotional wellbeing, and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. The funding will be used for weekly facilitated and peer support sessions to improve women's mental and emotional wellbeing, increase their self-confidence and self-worth and provide them with the tools for simple changes and lasting results.

Benbradagh Community Support

Connecting Rural Women
Grant Amount: £17,472.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Building Confidence

Benbradagh Community Support was established in 2011 with the aim of addressing a lack of service provision for all residents in the Dungiven area and established a women’s network in 2014. Women partake in a range of activities designed to promote their mental health and emotional wellbeing while simultaneously promoting physical health and the development of new skills. The funding will help build upon the capacity of work and the range of services offered, aimed at supporting rural women aged 18+ from Dungiven, the Benedy, Gortnaghey, Greysteel, and the many surrounding areas.

Bluebell Care Trust

Developing Capacity and Strengthening Core Team
Grant Amount: £20,000
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Bluebell provides free of charge, grass roots community support for mothers and infants experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties. The trust aims to improve women’s mental health and wellbeing in order to help them become independent, resilient and feel more empowered and confident in managing their own mental health and asking for the help and support they need. The funding will help build the capacity of services to meet increased demand due to the pandemic. 

Cassandra Centre

Best Version of You!
Grant Amount: £7,922.00
Location: England
Theme: Domestic Abuse/Violence Against Women and Girls

Cassandra Centre offers therapeutic and counselling services, casework support and referrals to third party services for those affected by domestic abuse. They also aim to raise awareness of what leads to domestic abuse and empower healthier relationships through work in schools, with community groups and through workshops. The funding will be used to provide workshops for women focusing on topics such as awareness of domestic violence, employment skills and mental health.

Central and West Integration Network SCIO

Women in Ecological Urban Farming
Grant Amount: £21,292.00
Location: Scotland
Theme: Education and Employment Support

Central and West Integration Network is a Scottish Charity that works with individuals and groups to support asylum seekers and refugees, migrant workers and Black and Minority Ethnic people, and works with all communities to promote integration, in the City Centre and West End of Glasgow, across the city of Glasgow and beyond. The funding will be used for a series of sessions in ecological urban agriculture for women, providing farm visits and practical workshops in animal husbandry, market gardening and business skills so they can form their own agricultural enterprises.

Globalmama Enterprises Ltd

Doing it For Ourselves
Grant Amount: £8,808.00
Location: England
Theme: Education and Employment Support

Globalmama primarily provides business training, support, and opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women in Sheffield. The organisation serves to empower local refugee and Black communities, with a primary focus on women.  The funding will be used to improve the skills, confidence, and financial stability of BAME refugee women, through the delivery of business-support workshops, the creation of shareable resources and the development of organisational capacity.

Granaghan & District Women’s Group

Bouncing Back from Covid!
Grant Amount: £8,568.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Granaghan & District Women’s Group provides a wide range of educational and leisure activities to enhance the wellbeing of women in and around the local community. The group also embraces cross community work and facilitates a weekly disability club. The funding will be used to provide a wide tranche of activities to help restore the holistic health of women and girls in and around the isolated, disadvantaged rural area.

Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde

Group Support for Inverclyde and Renfrewshire
Grant Amount: £7,060.00
Location: Scotland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde is a local independent charity which has been set up to give friendship, advice and practical support to families who live in the Renfrewshire and Inverclyde areas and who have at least one child under the age of five. The funding will be used to run two peer support groups for vulnerable new and expectant mums in Greenock and Paisley, including courses for confidence and mental wellbeing, antenatal anxiety and for managing money and budgeting.

Micro Rainbow CIC

Legal Advice for LBTI Migrant Women
Grant Amount: £15,725.00
Location: England
Theme: Legal Support

Micro Rainbow CIC supports LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees holistically through four main pillars: safe housing; including women-only safe houses; social inclusion; workshops tackling isolation, low confidence and self-esteem; employability support to ensure beneficiaries access employment, training, education and permanent housing; and legal advice, partnering with immigration legal aid and private law firms to make referrals. The funding will be used to provide LBTI migrant women who are living in exploitative situations with immigration advice, to refer them to partner immigration law firms and to help them secure legal status.

Misgav

Back to Work
Grant Amount: £10,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Education and Employment Support

Misgav provides activities and employment support to women with learning and physical disabilities from Hackney and neighbouring boroughs, with the majority of users coming from the Orthodox Jewish Community. The organisation also provides respite, advice, advocacy, and emotional support to caregivers, mostly in low-income households, with parent carers in their 60s. The funding will be used for an employment project for disabled women with group training, emotional and practical support, help finding placements and liaising with employers and 1:1 support at the new placement until users are well-settled.

Rowan Alba

Move On Support for Homeless Women with Complex Needs
Grant Amount: £23,662.00
Location: Scotland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Rowan Alba provides accommodation and 24-hour support to homeless women in Edinburgh, who have a history of rough sleeping, begging, regular hospital admissions, moving in and out of unsuitable accommodation and ongoing involvement with police or prison. As their homelessness is often a result of trauma Rowan Alba provides intensive support for issues including mental health, self-harming and substance dependency. The funding will be used to develop capacity to support homeless women with complex needs to reintegrate into the community post-Covid. Activities and outings will be held to build their confidence and skills and improve their mental wellbeing so they feel ready to move on to a permanent home.

The Motherhood Plan

Pregnant Then Screwed Helplines
Grant Amount: £24,798.00
Location: England
Theme: Capacity Building

The Motherhood Plan provides world-class advice and support to mothers to help them improve their confidence and wellbeing, and them the tools they need to challenge discrimination in the workplace. The group raises awareness of the specific challenges faced by working mothers and works with employers, politicians, women, and men to make change happen. The funding will be used to improve existing services through vital training for volunteers and to develop a new mental health support line for women facing mental health issues due to workplace discrimination.

Voices Women's Group

Healthier for Longer
Grant Amount: £3,168.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Voices Women’s Group is a community-based women’s group actively promoting social inclusion among women and their families who are socially excluded from society in the West Belfast area. They respond to the ever-changing needs of women in their provision of education, advice, training and recreation opportunities, with the aim of improving the conditions of the lives of members. The funding will be used for a mindfulness project aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of older women currently experiencing loneliness, hopelessness, low levels of confidence and poor physical and mental health resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

Young Women's Housing Project

YWHP
Grant Amount: £24,087.00
Location: England
Theme: Domestic Abuse/Violence Against Women and Girls

Young Women’s Housing Project (YWHP) is a women’s charity providing specialist therapeutic support services and safe accommodation for young women and girls aged 15-25 years, affected by sexual and exploitation. The organisation provides safe accommodation, outreach support, indefinite follow-on support and person-centred and trauma-informed support is offered. The funding will be used to enhance the capacity and reach of YWHP’s sexual and domestic abuse programmes including an accredited teenage relationship abuse programme, a teenage violence against parent’s programme and a parenting programme.
 

Seed Funding

Come Paint with Us

Arts and Crafts
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: Scotland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Come Paint with Us is a free Community Art class is held in Lanark to support women in the area suffering with issues such as depression, loneliness, brain damage and dementia. The funding will be used to expand the range of workshops offered.

Dipped in Creativity

The Growth Project Girls Group
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Dipped in Creativity is a non-profit youth and community service that works to empower and develop young people and young adults through creative workshops, an employability programme, coaching and events training. They offer individuals and communities the support to learn and develop life and employability skills, and positive wellbeing and mental health. The funding will be used to establish and run a female and youth-led empowerment project called TheBigSis Girls Group which will offer young women group support to open up positive pathways, create connections and encourage personal and professional development.

Gabriela

Outreach and Training on Mental Health
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Gabriela is a Filipino women's rights organisation led by women migrants, many of whom are domestic workers and work low-paid precarious jobs, with the goal of supporting Filipina and other vulnerable East and South East Asian women in the UK. The funding will be used for workshops for female migrant workers, in particular Filipina and other South East and East Asian women domestic and low-paid workers, on rights, IT skills and mental health.

GRACE

Self Defence Classes
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Building Confidence

GRACE is a multi-purpose youth community provision primarily focusing on girls and young women from Black and Minority Ethnic communities. The funding will be used to run self-defence classes for young girls and women in order to empower, increase self-confidence and improve physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Hamara Assra

Community Well Being Campaign
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Hamara Assra is a team of women across all backgrounds and ages with lived experience supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups of women in London. The group’s practical, community-based projects cover health, loneliness and wellbeing, gaining skills and social enterprise, creative and physical sessions and a wide range of cross-cultural activities, helping women of all ages to have their voices heard and realise their full potential. The funding will be used to provide a wellbeing programmeas a response to the negative impacts of COVID-19 on BAME women aged 50 years and older.

Her Story 

Come Outside
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Her Story aims to make a positive impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) asylum-seeking and refugee women. The organisation supports them to gain access to education, skills and other activities, and to acclimatise to their community and new laws and regulations. The funding will be used to support BAME asylum-seeking women to travel across Greater Manchester for outings and activities to promote better physical and mental wellbeing and help them feel included and involved.

Hive South Yorkshire

Mixing Roots
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Education and Employment Support

Mixing Roots is a grassroots project aiming to reduce cultural isolation through offering guidance, highlighting successful role models of colour, showcasing and celebrating voice and cultural heritage through wider audiences and enabling young PoC to take a rightful place in mainstream frameworks by improving employability skills and improving access to broader opportunities and pathways. The funding will be used to grow women-led support in the form of skills development and run wellbeing and resilience building workshops through the methods and focus of creative writing.

Hope Inspired CIC

The Inspiration Tree
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Building Confidence

Hope Inspired delivers employability programmes to people who are furthest away from the labour market and from financial stability due to a variety of barriers, including limiting beliefs, lack of confidence and low aspirations, societal inequalities, trauma from oppression and abuse. The organisation works largely but not exclusively with women and with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to deliver wellness programmes that improve quality of life. The funding will be used to provide a coaching programme for BAME Muslim women who are disempowered.

Idaraya Life C.I.C

Expressive Stitch
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Idaraya life C.I.C works to alleviate ill-health linked to physical inactivity via accessible and culturally inclusive health and wellbeing programmes, providing fitness and craft classes and mental health and nutrition support to those who feel most apprehensive. The funding will be used to provide an empowering creative craft workshop series that will give women an introduction to various crafts in order to creatively express their thoughts and feelings.

IgniteYou CIC

Dance Inc 1 to 1s
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

IgniteYou delivers classes, workshops and programmes that aim to build people’s knowledge and enjoyment around health. They support people of all ages and abilities to get excited about health, make them feel included and help them understand that it is possible no matter what your circumstances. The funding will be used to run 1:1 dance sessions for disabled young people that have low confidence and have been very isolated, to support them to rejoin IgniteYou's main dance group.

Inspiring Yarns

Inspiring Yarns
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Inspiring Yarns’ social purpose is to help people overcome fluctuating mental health and reduce social isolation through yarn-based craft activities. Inspiring Yarns additionally supports emerging fibre artists and those whose mental health has been a barrier to employment with practical advice around self-employment within the yarn industry. The funding will be used to provide classes in yarn-related skills and therapeutic sessions on mindfulness, stress management and relaxation to improve and promote maintenance of mental health, for women who have experienced domestic violence.

KAG Advocacy CIO

Community Connect
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Debt/Financial Support

KAG Advocacy CIO provides knowledge, advocacy and support to vulnerable people due to disability through debt services, a helpline and mentoring support to get people back into employment and or education. The funding will be used to provide women with health or disability issues with knowledge, advocacy and support to enable them to achieve their employment and education goals, uphold and protect their rights, and to improve their mental health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Kildoag Woman's Group

Reconnecting the Women of Kildoag
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Building Confidence

Kildoag Woman's Group addresses isolation felt by local women by facilitating weekly workshops and activities that provide the opportunity to come together, socialise, learn new skills, exercise, build connections and benefit from peer support. The funding will be used to create a weekly walking club and a luncheon club so that local women can begin to interact with their community again in a manner that is safe, rebuilds confidence and ensures they receive the support they need to recover physically and emotionally from COVID-19.

Little Bean Theatre

MumSing
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Little Bean Theatre is the UK’s first and only Cantonese-English bilingual family theatre company aiming to promote and celebrate diversity, encourage cohesion between the Chinese diaspora and the UK community, pass on language and culture, and increase cultural exposure and encourage participation of East Asian (EA) families in the UK. The funding will be used to provide music making workshops and develop a creative hub for ethnically and culturally diverse working mums to nurture their creative side, carve out me-time for their mental wellbeing and form a creative support network.

Our Time Women's Group

Our Time
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Our Time Women’s Group works with women in the local community. Their aims include reaching older women in the surrounding areas, building a bond with people from rural communities, building confidence and new skills, getting people out of isolation and offer support to older women in these communities.

Peterborough Latvian Supplementary School (Family Club)

New Challenges, New Opportunities
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Building Confidence

Peterborough Latvian Supplementary School’s main mission is to celebrate Latvian language and culture with organised cultural events for families, organised sports and art activities and organised English classes for adults. The funding will be used to provide new skills training for women, who have lost their jobs or have been isolating for a long periods of time at home, so they can access new opportunities in the future.

Plucky Skates Ltd

Plucky Skates
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Plucky Skates runs a roller-skating project for vulnerable teenage girls in the local area, teaching them how to skate in a safe and friendly environment. The young people are from low-income families, struggle with their mental health and have high emotional needs. The funding will be used to expand the roller-skating activity programme to support more young women.

Sahelis

Skills and Confidence Building
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: Scotland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Sahelis focuses on improving the mental health and wellbeing of minoritised women throug monthly meetings, outings, activities and workshops that the women wouldn’t be exposed to normally and sessions on depression, stress and nutrition. The funding will be used to help the women build skills in workshops such as make-up, massage and threading and run workshops to build confidence.

SAMEE

DAMSEL (Disability Aware Mentoring Support Entrepreneurial Ladies)
Grant Amount: £23,544.00
Location: England
Theme: Education and Employment Support

The Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE) teaches self-employment skills to enable disabled adults to gain further independence. Via a unique mix of peer mentoring and personal guidance, SAMEE guides each disabled adult towards successful self-employment start-up with additional specialist support throughout from volunteer business mentors. The funding will be used to teach self-employment skills and enable disabled women living in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole to survive the aftermath of COVID-19, giving them the best chance of reaching their full potential through successful self-employment start-up.

Sikh Women's Aid

THRIVE Empowerment Project
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: England
Theme: Domestic Abuse/Violence Against Women and Girls

The mission of SWA is to act as a stimulus to develop lasting positive change by actively challenging harmful belief systems and practices that act as the root cause of all forms of abuse within the Sikh and wider South Asian community. Their goal is to empower victims to take control of their own lives to become survivors by breaking free of toxic cultural practices that seek to disempower vulnerable members of the Sikh and South Asian community. The funding will be used for a resilience programme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) victims of abuse.

Sister System

Leadership Unlocked: Building a Resilient Community for Care Affected Females
Grant Amount: £24,836.00
Location: England
Theme: Education and Employment Support

Sister System (SS) offers a new model of working with young women who have been affected by the care system. SS works alongside girls and women aged 13-24 years, providing eight tailored early intervention programmes designed to embed essential skills, tools and strategies that enable them to avoid or recover from the unique risks faced by girls with experience of the system. The funding will be used for an accredited Leadership programme for care-affected young women who are isolated and either NEET or at risk. 

Suffolk Community Forum

Suffolk Women’s Group
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: Northern Ireland
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Suffolk Community Forum is a charity working to promote the benefit of the inhabitants of the Suffolk Estate in Belfast and its neighbourhood. Its aims include securing social services and educational and recreational facilities for all sections of the community, advocacy and promoting cross-community engagement. The funding will be used to establish a women's group in the Suffolk Estate to empower them in providing peer support, education, recreation and the means to take control of their lives and their own mental health.

Take Action, Period

Girl Talk
Grant Amount: £500.00
Location: England
Theme: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Take Action, Period (TAP) was created to break down economic barriers to support women's access to menstrual cycle supplies, as well as working with healthcare centres and professionals to develop an educational platform to help women – particularly those in ethnic minorities – understand more about their bodies, sexual and reproductive health, and care for themselves during menstruation. The funding will be used for workshops to educate girls on their periods with the aim of empowering them and teaching them about the natural functioning of their bodies.

The Women's Group 2021

We Can Do It Too!
Grant Amount: £1,000.00
Location: Scotland
Theme: Mental health and Wellbeing

The Women’s Group supports women living in East Dunbartonshire, who identify as having a learning disability and/or a diagnosis on the autistic spectrum, to form new friendships, learn new skills and identify and build upon their assets. The funding will be used to support the women to reconnect - hopefully face-to-face - in a variety of creative arts and physical activity projects, working both with Allwyn Crawford of the Sporting Aces and the Local Area Co-ordinators to help the women decide and organise these events.