Solace Women’s Aid is committed to transparency, and we work with 360 Giving to publish information about our grants. Using the 360 Giving data standard, details of our Empowering Women Fund grants are available as an Excel spreadsheet here.
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The Empowering Women Fund, part of the Labyrinth Project, was a Tampon Tax funded grant scheme, led by Solace. It provided 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.
In 2021 the Empowering Women Fund grants were awarded, 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 was 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).
Below are success stories of some of the projects and organisations awarded a grant by the Empowering Women Fund.
Bluebell Care Trust
Bluebell Care Trust has supported 700 mothers and infants experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties through their 11-week Comfort Zone programme. Comfort Zone gives parents a chance to come together for a 2-hour therapeutic group session each week in which they develop coping strategies to boost their emotional wellbeing. The Empowering Women Fund helped Bluebell Care Trust build the capacity of its community support to meet increased demand due to Covid-19.
The Empowering Women Fund helped Hope Inspired provide a coaching programme for Muslim women in which they learnt about iconic Muslim women in history and created Inspiration Trees to visually represent their learnings and goals. The creative aspect of the programme supports women’s mental wellbeing and is particularly beneficial for those who aren’t confident writing. The Inspiration Tree has now been trademarked as a creative way of capturing learning, aspirations and a vision for the future in the form of anchors.
Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde
The Empowering Women Fund enabled Home-Start to run two peer support groups for 33 vulnerable new and expectant mums, including courses for confidence and mental wellbeing, antenatal anxiety and managing money and budgeting. 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 Empowering Women Fund enabled Idaraya Life to run Expressive Stitch, a project supporting women’s mental wellbeing by helping them improve their embroidery skills and connect with each other. Idaraya Life focuses on introducing women to various crafts in order to creatively express their thoughts and feelings. Idaraya Life created an affirming and supportive space in which more experienced participants were able to refresh their skills and support those who were learning.
Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis
The Empowering Women Fund helped Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis deliver 11 sessions to a diverse group of women across Cowal. Activities included rope wrapping and jigsaw art and helped the women build their confidence and express a sense of creativity. Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis adapted to social distancing measures during the pandemic by delivering outreach packs for remote participants including links to videos and written instructions for the activities. A new pack was sent out each week to give the participants a variety of resources, including positive affirmations and additional, smaller creative activities.
Benbradagh Community Support
Benbradagh Community Support supports women experiencing loneliness, rural isolation and exclusion. The Empowering Women Fund helped Benbradagh Community Support run classes and a weekly walking club for 100 women as part of Connecting Rural Women, a project promoting both mental wellbeing and physical activity. Benbradagh Community Support also delivered workshops and information sessions on drug and alcohol abuse; cancer awareness; financial capability and other issues. The project activities promoted independence and equipped participants with a range of transferrable skills.
Full list of grantees
Women’s Sector Grants
Developing Capacity and Strengthening Core Team,
Healthier for Longer, Voices Women’s Group
Arts and Crafts, Come Paint with Us
Community Well Being Campaign,
Her Story, Come Outside
The Inspiration Tree, Hope Inspired CIC
Dance Inc 1 to 1s, IgniteYou CIC
Our Time, Our Time Women’s Group
Girl Talk, Take Action, Period
We Can Do It Too!, The Women’s Group 2021