3rd Dec 2019

The Women's Fund at the Community Foundation

The Women’s Fund at the Community Foundation held its first ever giving day in Newcastle, with guests allocating a pot of £17,500 to three women-only charities.

One of the charities to benefit is West End Women and Girls Centre that has been working in the West End of Newcastle since 1981.

Laura Christer, Senior Domestic Violence Peer Educator (IDVA) at West End Women and Girls Centre
Laura Christer, Senior Domestic Violence Peer Educator (IDVA) at West End Women and Girls Centre

Laura Christer, Senior Domestic Violence Peer Educator (IDVA) at West End Women and Girls Centre explains the importance of the Centre:

“In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a lot of youth clubs in Newcastle, but they were like a mini working men’s club, where boys played darts, pool and football and girls worked behind the tuck shop. It meant that a lot of girls were hanging around the streets of Elswick instead, a red-light district of Newcastle at the time.

“In the summer of 1981, two teenage girls were raped in Elswick Park and the community got together to set up a safe space for women and girls. On the first night there was a queue of girls waiting to enter with their 2p subs, and from that one session in 1981, West End Women and Girls now runs over 20 sessions per week with women of all ages.”

Company of Others, a cultural organisation that uses dance theatre to tell the stories of women from diverse backgrounds
Company of Others, a cultural organisation that uses dance theatre to tell the stories of women from diverse backgrounds

The Women’s Fund at the Community Foundation is a way for people to give to women-only projects in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and set up a giving day where women could help decide how its funds should be allocated.

Funding of £16,000 was generated by the Women’s Fund endowment at the Community Foundation, and enabled forty guests to allocate £400 each to three great causes who presented their case for support. Rathbone Investment Management sponsored the giving day and allocated an additional £500 to each of the worthy causes to create total donations of £17,500 for the three charities. And in the lead up to the event, the three charities received presentation skills training, provided by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

In total, West End Women and Girls Centre received £6,870, Company of Others, a cultural organisation that uses dance theatre to tell the stories of women from diverse backgrounds, received £5,389; and Women’s Health in South Tyneside (WHiST), which supports over 250 different women per week to become more independent, received £5,241.

Women's Health in South Tyneside perform a poem written by an asylum seeker in South Tyneside
Women's Health in South Tyneside perform a poem written by an asylum seeker in South Tyneside

In addition to the allocation of funds for the women-only causes, the Community Foundation raised a further £2,000 for the Women’s Fund endowment including a generous gift of £500 from the Barbour Foundation. The fund has a current market value of over £427,000, meaning that women-only charities can benefit for generations to come.

Gill Lowing, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation adds:

“The Women’s Fund is a great way for women to give locally to a wide range of women-only causes in our community that often go underneath the radar.

“Our message is simple, that together we can change lives, and we need more women to join our movement so that our Fund can grow, and more causes can benefit in the future.

“We hope to encourage more people to think about their wealth, and their legacy and to work with us and help to change lives for the better.”

Feeling inspired? Anyone can donate to the Women’s Fund whether it's a one-off donation or a regular contribution, your support will help women in North East England. Give today at www.communityfoundation.org.uk/donate.

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