Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has awarded grants to 14 local projects working with some of society’s most vulnerable women and girls. Small charities and community groups have received the grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 from the Tampon Tax Community Fund to work with women of all ages, focusing on preventative services for those at risk of crisis. Projects receiving funding will help women and girls get back into work, raise awareness of health issues and help those who may be isolated or lonely to create and develop social networks.
As one of the UK’s largest grant-giving organisations, UK Community Foundations (UKCF) was asked by government to distribute the largest share of the funding raised through the levy on sanitary products in 2017/18, working with its network of Community Foundations across the country to award £3.4 million nationally in grants. HIWCF was oversubscribed in all areas with less than a quarter of the 62 applications for vital projects requesting £533,545 being supported from this stream of funding.
UKCF Director of Programmes and Development Vicki Papworth said:
Community Foundations work with grassroots groups running vital services on a shoestring and supporting some of the most marginalised people in our society. This funding will enable them to run some amazing projects that make a huge difference on the ground to the women and girls who need it most.
Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive at HIWCF said:
We are delighted to be partnering UK Community Foundations on the Tampon Tax Community Fund, set up to help vulnerable women and girls in need. HIWCF is committed to helping disadvantaged people across our region and this grant programme enables us to support a range of truly vital projects run by deserving charities and community groups.
The 14 organisations receiving funding are:
|Organisation||Local Authority Area|
|CISters: Surviving Rape and Sexual Abuse||Eastleigh|
|Break the Cycle Community Interest Company||Isle of Wight|
|People Matter IW||Isle of Wight|
|Harbour Church Portsmouth||Portsmouth|
|Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS)||Portsmouth|
|Rushmoor Healthy Living (RHL)||Rushmoor|
|Dog Assistance In Disability (Dog A.I.D.)||Shropshire|
|City Life Church||Southampton|
Case studies are included below for three projects, run by CIS’ters: Surviving Rape and Sexual Abuse based in Eastleigh, Rushmoor Healthy Living in Farnborough and People Matter IW on the Isle of Wight::
CIS’ters: Surviving Rape and Sexual Abuse, Eastleigh is a charity providing emotional support for females aged over 18 who have been sexually abused or exploited by a member of their immediate or extended family. CIS’ters grant of £10,000 will enable the organisation to host extra screenings at key venues across Hampshire for a larger number of professionals and members of the public, showing the internationally awarded 60 minute documentary on Resilience, to raise viewers’ awareness of adverse childhood experiences which will be followed by a professional question and answer panel. In addition, the funding will be used to acquire an ACEs Recovery Toolkit, which will be used by CIS’ters to deliver a targeted empowerment course for women accessing CIS’ters.
Gillian Finch, Chief Executive at CIS’ters said:
The majority of the CIS’ters workforce are themselves service users, empowered to move beyond their childhood experiences, so the initial impact will help to raise the esteem of all of those who deliver the project. Our pilot screenings have proved very popular with demand much higher than expected and we are delighted to receive this funding to enable us to roll out the screenings programme. This awareness will help us to support more clients who are in desperate need. Whilst the screenings raise public and professional awareness outside of CIS’ters, the ACEs Recovery Toolkit will be used to help empower more women.
Rose became a client of CIS’ters in 2009. Married, in a supportive relationship and working within the retail sector as a Manager, she had reached a point in her life where she wanted ‘closure’ relating to her experience of being sexually abused for a number of years as a child, by a family member. She wanted to have children but her experiences were holding her back. CIS’ters enabled Rose to explore the toxic trauma linked to her past and the impact it was having on her, through focusing on health, emotional wellbeing, relationships and coping strategies, continuing to provide a space where Rose could return to touch base with other survivors to draw strength. After some time, Rose felt able to report the abuse to a specialist police officer and CIS’ters were able to support Rose through a lengthy court trial where her abuser was convicted and given a lengthy prison sentence. Following the court case, a number of key family members chose to discard Rose, shunning her for speaking her truth, and CIS’ters have been there to provide the support that Rose needs, as and when she wants it.
It took time to get to a place where I was able to let go of feelings of shame and realise that for me, I wanted to tell the police what he had done to me. Being a parent as well, made me appreciate how small and vulnerable a child is. It wasn’t easy to reach out for help. I did seven years ago and CIS’ters saved my life.
Rushmoor Healthy Living, Farnborough has been awarded a grant of £10,000 to run two 20 week long courses, to help 40 Nepali women in Rushmoor overcome barriers towards employment, including improving English skills and interview techniques, learning how to seek and apply for work and develop a greater understanding of British culture. Participants will identify the key issues and barriers they are facing as a group and with support from project staff will decide how they tackle these problems. External speakers from organisations such as JobCentre Plus will get involved, while participants will also be signposted to language and educational groups if required.
Bradley Dale, Fundraising Officer for Rushmoor Healthy Living said:
In 2018 we delivered an extremely successful short pilot project aimed at supporting Nepali women to overcome the barriers they faced in gaining employment. Rushmoor has a rapidly growing Nepali population at approximately 16% of the population and thanks to this grant we can now build on this pilot and give disadvantaged women the skills to move forward and integrate into the local community. Nepali women often have low self-confidence and feel quite excluded from society and by raising aspirations, increasing self-confidence and building social networks through peer support, this will help the women to significantly improve their own and their family’s quality of life. The Nepali community are always keen to cascade knowledge and so by supporting those in our project, the information will also reach other women in need in the community.
People Matter IW, on the Isle of Wight is the Islands user led organisation aiming to support people in the local community with disabilities or support needs to have a say in changes that may affect service delivery. The group have received a grant of £8,620 to enable AIM’s autistic women’s project to become more inclusive, through holding more sessions, operating at different times and venues, thereby increasing the number of attendees. The project will provide workshops on personal safety, anxiety management, positive relationships and social skills, training in small comfortable groups to help participants develop new skills and confidence, enabling autistic women and girls to live safely and lead fulfilling lives.
Claire Collins, AIM Co-ordinator at People Matter IW said:
Autistic women and girls face exclusion and discrimination right from the start of life and without the recognition and assessment for diagnosis, early intervention and support is missed, which can lead to many other problems, including school exclusions, bullying and mental health issues.
By providing regular support groups and social activities for autistic women and girls on the Island, we aim to reduce isolation and provide opportunities to build social networks, allowing peers to spend time together, understand their condition and needs and develop a sense of belonging.
With the support of People Matter IW staff and volunteers, autistic women will receive work and volunteering opportunities to allow them to develop their skills in the workplace and through raising awareness of autism in women’s services such as midwifery and breast screening centres we can ensure that women and girls can fully access health and support services which will help prevent poor health outcomes, family crisis and poor engagement in services. Thanks to this grant we are able to provide our autistic girls and women with the skills, confidence and support network to create a better future for them.
Photo: CIS’ters elephant to evoke that ‘Let us talk about the elephant in the room’ scenario and to the right is the CIS’ters handprint banner representing survivors reaching out to each other.