Empowering Women Fund Grantee Stories


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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).

Funded Projects

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.

Hope Inspired

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.

Idaraya Life

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

Hope and Better Safe Life Away from Harm, ACCM (UK) 

Therapeutic Crafts, Argyll & Bute Rape Crisis

Lady Labyrinth…Mind..Body..Spirit, Atlas Women’s Centre

Connecting Rural Women, Benbradagh Community Support

Developing Capacity and Strengthening Core Team, Bluebell Care Trust

Best Version of You!, Cassandra Centre

Women in Ecological Urban Farming, Central and West Integration Network SCIO

Doing it For Ourselves, Globalmama Enterprises Ltd

Bouncing Back from Covid!, Granaghan & District Women’s Group

Group Support for Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, Home-Start Renfrewshire and Inverclyde

Legal Advice for LBTI Migrant Women, Micro Rainbow CIC

Back to Work, Misgav

Move On Support for Homeless Women with Complex Needs, Rowan Alba

Pregnant Then Screwed Helplines, The Motherhood Plan

Healthier for Longer, Voices Women’s Group

YWHP, Young Women’s Housing Project

Seed Funding

Arts and Crafts, Come Paint with Us

The Growth Project Girls Group, Dipped in Creativity

Outreach and Training on Mental Health, Gabriela

Self Defence Classes, GRACE

Community Well Being Campaign, Hamara Assra

Her Story, Come Outside

Mixing Roots, Hive South Yorkshire

The Inspiration Tree, Hope Inspired CIC

Expressive Stitch, Idaraya Life C.I.C

Dance Inc 1 to 1s, IgniteYou CIC

Inspiring Yarns, Inspiring Yarns

Community Connect, KAG Advocacy CIO

Reconnecting the Women of Kildoag, Kildoag Woman’s Group

MumSing, Little Bean Theatre

Our Time, Our Time Women’s Group

New Challenges, New Opportunities, Peterborough Latvian Supplementary School (Family Club)

Plucky Skates, Plucky Skates Ltd

Skills and Confidence Building, Sahelis

DAMSEL (Disability Aware Mentoring Support Entrepreneurial Ladies), SAMEE

THRIVE Empowerment Project, Sikh Women’s Aid

Leadership Unlocked: Building a Resilient Community for Care Affected Females, Sister System

Suffolk Women’s Group, Suffolk Community Forum

Girl Talk, Take Action, Period

We Can Do It Too!, The Women’s Group 2021