Women’s Fund raises over £18,000 at International Women’s Day Lunch


A networking lunch in aid of the Women’s Fund at the Community Foundation raised over £18,000 to support women-only projects in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Celebrating International Women’s Day, the Women’s Fund Lunch was attended by over 300 women including the founding donor to the Fund, Dame Margaret Barbour. The Women’s Fund aims to help women to feel safe, supported and confident when confronted by abuse, discrimination and a lack of opportunities.

Sponsored by Clarand Accountants, the lunch was held at the Crowne Plaza hotel, and featured Jo Barnett, who spoke of her life as a mother and Executive Director of the Virgin Money Foundation, and Catrina McHugh of Open Clasp Theatre as speakers. The lunch was hosted by honorary Vice President of the Community Foundation, Carol Malia DL.

Open Clasp Theatre discussed their inspirational “Key Change” project, which was devised with women from HMP Low Newton and originally toured to male prisons to show the female perspective of life in prison. Key Change won the Carol Tambor ‘Best of Edinburgh’ Award 2015 and in February, thanks to support from the Community Foundation, won ‘Critics Pick’ in the New York Times.


Through a crowd funding giving session using Virgin Money Giving, women in the audience raised a staggering £8,581 to support a grant towards the next Open Clasp project, “Promise”. From the money raised, a grant of £4,350 will fund 10 workshops working with women on parole and in prison to develop stories and develop an identity and perception of themselves as a non-offender. All other income raised will go to the Women’s Fund to support more women-only projects in the region.


Catrina McHugh, Artistic Director and Writer at Open Clasp Theatre said:

“A huge thank you to everyone who supported Promise at the Women’s Fund Lunch. It was humbling to see that within minutes we had smashed our target of £4,350 to fund 10 workshops working with women on probation and in prison. Collective philanthropy through the Women’s Fund is a very powerful thing, and it was great to celebrate International Women’s Day with such a wonderful and generous audience of women giving to other women in our region.”


Claire Priestley, Director of Clarand Accountants and sponsor of the lunch said:

“Clarand Accountants is delighted to support the Women’s Fund lunch on International Women’s Day. At Clarand we have built our business on the ethos of being here to help other firms, regardless of size, turnover or location. We’re delighted to partner with the Community Foundation and believe the Women’s Fund is an asset to our local communities, tackling issues of fairness and providing support to help many women overcome and lead a more fulfilling life.”


Posted on 07/03/2016 @ 4:17 pm
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