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.
While this round of funding has closed, we hope to offer more funds in the future and will update this page when we have more information. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any specific questions.
Below is a list of the projects and organisations awarded a grant by the Empowering Women Fund
ACCM (UK) Works with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Communities to bring about positive social change, enhance the wellbeing and protect the dignity of girls and women locally, nationally and internationally. ACCM (UK) 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) and forced arranged marriage (FAM) and honour based violence (HBV) that are forms of domestic violence (DV).
Argyll & Bute Rape Crisis
Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis (ABRC) provides free and confidential support and advocacy to people of any gender (aged 12 +) who have experienced rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual bullying, stalking and commercial sexual exploitation – whether this is recent or historic. We also offer support to non-abusing partners and family members of survivors of sexual violence.
Arts & Crafts at Come Paint with Us
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. This class has been running for a few years and has recently expanded from a painting class to arts and crafts to include more women who would like to meet with others.
Atlas Women's Centre
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. A registered creche removes the childcare barrier for parents and carers. Programmes and activities include accredited, non-accredited and leisure courses, health awareness and promotion, one to one counselling, and volunteer and work placement opportunities.
Benbradagh Community Support
Benbradagh Community Support was established in 2011 with the aim of addressing a lack of service provision for all residents in the Dungiven area. Although early work was focused on youth, it quickly became apparent that local women in particular were suffering from a severe lack of support and services. With that in mind, a women’s network was established in 2014 and over the past seven years it’s grown progressively in strength and size. 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.
Bluebell Care Trust
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 & wellbeing, 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.
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.
Central and West Integration Network SCIO
Central and West Integration Network is a Scottish Charity which 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.
Dipped In Creativity
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 skills, employability skills, and positive wellbeing and mental health all under one roof.
Gabriela is a Filipino women rights organisation led by women migrants, many of whom are domestic workers and those in low paid precarious jobs, with the goal of supporting Filipino and other vulnerable East and South East Asian women in the UK. Gabriela empowers Filipinas and other S/EA women, in particular, migrant workers, survivors of trafficking and domestic violence to establish strong networks of solidarity to advocate for the protection of migrant women and to lobby for changes to UK law to improve their status and enable them to escape abuse and violence.
Globalmama Enterprises Ltd
Globalmama primarily provides business training, support, and opportunities for BAME women in Sheffield, UK. The organisation serves to empower local refugee and black communities, with a primary focus on women. This support is delivered through The Somali Women’s Business Forum, which brings marginalised entrepreneurial women together and gives them the support they need to build stable financial futures.
GRACE is a multi-purpose youth community provision primarily focusing on girls and young women from Black and Minority Ethnic communities. The group is running self-defence classes for young girls and women in response to recent cases highlighted in the media of attacks on women in order to empower, increase self-confidence and improve physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Granaghan & District Women’s Group
Granaghan & District Women’s Group provides a wide tranche of educational and leisure activities to enhance the holistic wellbeing of women in and around the local community. Activities include aerobics, art, digital training, karate and self-defence for kids, meditation, mindfulness, script writing and salsa dancing to tai chi and Zumba. The group also embraces cross community work and facilitates a weekly disability club.
Hamara Assra is a team of women across all backgrounds and ages with lived experience supporting Black, Asian, and underrepresented groups of women in London. The group’s practical, community-based projects cover heath 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.
Her Story aims to make a positive impact in the physical and mental wellbeing of asylum seeking/refugee BAME women. The organisation supports them to gain access to education, skills or other activities, helps them to know the community better and understand laws and regulations. Her Story provides a safe environment for them to come outdoors and enjoy the free space, start conversations within related topics. The group is encouraged to bond through various activities, like sharing recipes, talking about their culture or traditions, with the aim of encouraging empowerment for a better life.
Hive South Yorkshire / Mixing Roots
Mixing Roots is a grassroots project led by three African women who are also young steering board members of the Hive Young Writers Network. Through workshops, taking into account the specific needs and barriers faced by young females of colour, the group aims to reduce cultural isolation while developing voice, offer guidance and highlight successful role-models of colour, showcase and celebrate voice and cultural heritage through wider audiences, understanding and praise, enable young PoC to take a rightful place in mainstream frameworks by improving employability skills, and improve access to broader opportunities and pathways.
Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde
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 5.
Hope Inspired CIC
Hope Inspired is set up to deliver 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, as well as societal inequalities and trauma from oppression and abuse including domestic abuse. The organisation works largely but not exclusively with women and with BAME communities and is planning to deliver wellness programmes that improve quality of life, help people start work and stay in work and develop inner strength and resilience.
Idaraya Life C.I.C
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 classes and mental health support to those who feel most apprehensive
IgniteYou delivers classes, workshops and programmes that aim to build peoples knowledge and enjoyment around health. They support people to get excited about health and help them understand that it is possible no matter what your circumstances. IgniteYou is an inclusive organisation that is accessible to all abilities and ages and pride themselves on being as adaptable as possible so everyone feels included.
Inspiring Yarns’ social purpose is to help people to overcome fluctuating mental health and reduce social isolation through yarn-based craft activities, and to support emerging fibre artists and those whose mental health has been a barrier to employment with practical advice around self-employment within the yarn industry.
KAG Advocacy CIO
KAG Advocacy CIO provides knowledge, advocacy and support to vulnerable people due to health disability and or circumstances. KAG provides many different projects and services including specific debt services, a helpline, mentoring support to get people back into employment and or education, befriending services for older isolated people in the their own homes and a service to support vulnerable detainees whilst in police custody. The overall aim of the organisation is to protect and uphold the rights of vulnerable individuals in order for them to have a voice and a choice in their lives to improve well-being.
Kildoag Woman's Group
Kildoag Woman's Group was set up by women from the local community as a means of tackling the isolation which women of all ages from the area were experiencing. Kildoag is a very rural community, with extremely limited access to services and opportunities to socialise. The group addresses this need by facilitating weekly workshops and activities which gives local women the opportunity to come together, socialise, learn new skills, exercise, build connections and benefit from peer support.
Little Bean Theatre
Little Bean Theatre is the UK’s first and only Cantonese-English bilingual family theatre company. Founded by a group of London-based multi-arts artists mostly from Hong Kong, their objectives are 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 majority of the all-female team are EA, in recognition of BESEA artists being underrepresented in the arts, particularly in making works for children and families. Little Bean’s work involves music, movement, puppetry and sensory elements.
Micro Rainbow CIC
Micro Rainbow CIC supports LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees holistically through four main pillars: safe housing with 20,000 bed-nights a year, including women only safe houses; social inclusion, providing over 100 workshops a year to tackle 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.
Misgav provides afternoon weekday activities and full Sunday programme and employment support to women (aged 18-54+) with learning and physical disabilities (Down’s syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, global development delay, restricted mobility) from Hackney and neighbouring boroughs. Due to the lack of provisions and demand for women-only services, the majority of users come from the Orthodox Jewish Community. The organisation provides respite, advice, advocacy and emotional support to 80 caregivers, mostly in low-income households, with parent carers in their 60s. The group offers volunteering opportunities and training to 90 young BAME volunteers, improving their employment opportunities through gained experience.
Our Time Women's Group
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)
Peterborough Latvian Supplementary school’s main mission is to celebrate Latvian language and culture, with organized cultural events for families, organised sports and art activities, and organized English classes for adults, with a focus on supporting young people, women and older people.
Plucky Skates Ltd
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.
Rowan Alba provides accommodation and 24-hour support to homeless women with complex needs in Edinburgh (age 16+) with and without children. The women 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 including childhood abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, they need intensive support with issues including mental health, self-harming and substance dependency. Rowan Alba supports women to identify their strengths and make positive choices to gain the confidence and skills they need to live independently.
Sahelis means friends. Our group is catered to women from minority backgrounds and focuses on improving their mental health and wellbeing. The group comprises of a range of women who are widowed, divorced or very isolated with no friends. Sahelis organises monthly meetings and activities including outings. These have included museums, yoga sessions, restaurant meals, self care sessions. We promote activities and workshops which the ladies wouldn’t be exposed to normally. We run sessions on depression, stress and nutrition. This has been very successful with extremely good feedback and it has led to a lot of women gaining confidence.
The Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship (SAMEE) teaches self-employment skills to enable disabled adults to gain further independence. Their mission is to alleviate poverty for disabled adults by supporting them to explore non-traditional forms of employment that fit around their health challenges and reduce the barriers they face to employment opportunities. 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.
Sikh Women's Aid
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 including those with language barriers, that prevent them from accessing the right kind of help and 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. Together, they develop and build confidence and resilience to achieve a life free from abuse and with good mental health so that the girls and young women are better equipped to engage in education, employment and personal fulfilment.
Suffolk Community Forum
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 Forum is establishing 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
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. TAP works to empower girls by working with schools ang groups, breaking down stigmas and taboos when discussing periods.
The Mend and Restore Project
The Mend and Restore Project runs sewing workshops for women who have experienced some form of abuse, modern slavery, or exploitation in East London and Essex, as well as providing a platform to talk about important topics, such as women’s health and wellbeing.
The Motherhood Plan
The Motherhood Plan provides world-class advice and support to mothers to help them improve their confidence and wellbeing giving them the tools they need to challenge discrimination in the workplace. The group advocates for change and raise awareness of the specific challenges faced by working mothers, challenging deeply entrenched stereotypes about the role of mothers in society and working with employers, politicians, women, and men to make change happen. Our mission is to create a society where care is valued and in which pregnant women and mothers in all their diversity are enabled to fulfil their potential.
The Women's Group 2021
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 & build upon their assets. The group is supported and facilitated by two female Local Area Co-ordinators, but the group's decisions are made by the women themselves.
Voices Women's Group
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 group supports women in their personal development and in the development of their communities.
Young Women's Housing Project
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 17 safe supported places to live, including accommodation for those with children, outreach support and indefinite follow-on support. Person-centred and trauma-informed support is offered, which is gender and age specific. Support is a shared process using a strength-based model, focusing on resilience, recovery and well-being, safe and healthy relationships, and social and financial inclusion. They also develop and deliver prevention and early intervention programmes within schools and for services working with young women.