The outcome of Solace’s first grant scheme, the Empowering Women Fund, 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. The projects cover mental health and wellbeing, employment and education, domestic abuse and VAWG, capacity building and legal, debt and financial support.
Solace is delighted to be able to support some incredible work and looks forward to seeing how these projects develop. The sheer number of applications, however, draws into sharp relief the gap between what is needed and what is available. At close, the fund had received a huge 613 applications totalling £9.6 million: a demand that way outstrips availability.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, Solace has seen an enormous increase in demand for services – calls to their helpline alone have more than doubled over the last year. The response to this fund demonstrates that women’s organisations across the UK are seeing the same increase.
Helen Carlin, CEO of funded organisation Rowan Alba says:
This is simply marvellous news! On behalf of those who will undoubtedly get so much from this, and from everyone at Rowan Alba, our sincere thanks.
This will make such a huge difference to the homeless women we support, giving them a real boost as we help them try to engage with community activities again after many anxious months in lockdown.
Fiona Dwyer, Solace CEO says:
We are incredibly grateful for the funding from DCMS, which has enabled us to support this vital work through the Labyrinth Project. The enormous gap between what has been requested and what we are able to fund lays bare the need for more support for women’s services across the three nations. Women-specific funding must be ringfenced in mental health, employment and VAWG to ensure that the women’s sector can continue to deliver these life-saving services.