Supporting women together

For nearly twenty years, donors to The Women’s Fund have stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the most disadvantaged women in our communities. In this era of Time’s Up and #Metoo; an increased focus on equal pay and as we celebrate and reflect on 100 years of women’s suffrage, the grassroots community projects supported by the Fund have never been needed more – helping to ensure that all women benefit as our society changes.

The Women’s Fund was established in 1999 by Dame Margaret Barbour, with an initial donation of £250,000 from the Barbour Trust. Dame Margaret had a vision that the Fund would be a collective endeavour enabling women to support other women in our region. The good work supported by the Fund is needed more than ever and we’d welcome your support.  Since the Fund was established many local women have donated thousands of pounds to it through being regular donors, making one-off donations and from the proceeds of events.

The Fund supports women-only projects by providing grants to groups throughout Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.  Here are just some of the ways that we support grassroots local action.

Providing support to victims of sexual offences

Reporting of sexual offences is significantly increasing across the Northumbria Police Area and the demand for the services of Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland is growing.  Through a grant from the Women’s Fund we have helped ensure their phone and email support is able not only to continue, but also to expand to meet rising demand.  The service provides immediate support to alleviate emotional distress and acts as a point of referral to wider support services, as well as encouraging reporting.

Helping women from different ethnic backgrounds to integrate and feel at home

The Sunderland Women’s Centre is a safe place for women from a range of different ethnic backgrounds living in the city who want to learn English.  This includes women from the local Bangladeshi community, asylum seekers and refugees, as well as those who have come as economic migrants.  Forty five women can participate in speaking and listening sessions as a first step thanks to a grant from the Women’s Fund.

Access to information and learning for disabled women

The Josephine and Jack Project delivers sexual health and relationships education to women with learning disabilities and has done so since 2004.  Learning disabled women have poorer health and relationship outcomes than the rest of the female population and the group use a life size cloth doll that opens up to help women understand how their bodies work and the self-care they need to give themselves.  The Women’s Fund has paid for replace the original Josephine doll that had become worn out; enabling this successful project to keep supporting local women.

Thanks to the Women’s Fund our project can support even more women with learning disabilities in the North East to make positive life choices around their health, relationships and wellbeing.

Practical help and mutual support

The West End Women and Girls weekly drop-in provides advice to help women who need advice on a wide range of issues from drug and alcohol abuse to housing support, health and well-being, computer skills training, job search and domestic abuse support.  Women who attend come from diverse cultural backgrounds including the Bangladesh, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Algerian communities as well as white British women and the charity encourage community integration through all of its projects.  Situated in the heart of Elswick, each drop-in often attracts more than fifty women and the Women’s Fund has helped keep this valued service open.   

Valued by our grantees

"The women really support each other when they see someone is feeling down or have pressing problems. They have become a community in themselves."

Friends of the Drop-In for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Over to you

Anyone can donate to the fund; all gifts are welcome, large or small. Please do give what you can to help support other women. Funding together, alongside other women, we can make a big difference to other women’s lives.

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