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Smallwood transform grant-making to individuals

Smallwood Trust have found that small amounts of financial assistance can ease pressure, enabling women to focus on other areas of their lives, and will now be providing more flexible grants targeted at removing barriers to improving women's lives.

For 130 years, the Smallwood Trust has been helping women on low incomes to become financially resilient. They do this by providing grants to both individuals and organisations to help women overcome financial adversity, improve their well-being and equip them with the skills to secure a confident financial future.

In order to remain relevant and responsive, and to maximise impact, they are now transforming their grant-making to individuals. Both experience and independent research has found that small amounts of financial assistance can ease pressure, enabling women to focus on other areas of their lives and giving them a greater sense of control. When frontline organisations provide financial assistance, they report the relationship between themselves and the beneficiary significantly improves.

To reflect this, Smallwood will change their grant-making to individuals by:

  • Providing more flexible grants to individuals that respond to women’s individual circumstances and are targeted at removing barriers. Over the past 12 months they have piloted this approach with three partners and have found that flexible grants have been instrumental in providing a step-change for financially vulnerable women – in some cases, this has been life-changing.
  • By 2021, individual grants programme will change into a community-led programme with frontline organisations distributing the grants on Smallwood’s behalf. This will shift the power for decision-making to those directly supporting financially vulnerable women. Smallwood Trust will provide the funds, including those to administer the grants, a toolkit, model and support. The community-grant partners will provide practical one-to-one support and award grants to women, informed by their individual circumstances and need.

This model of funding and one-to-one support for financially vulnerable women will be centred on the key drivers of stability: housing, financial stability, employment stability and mental health and wellbeing.

Over the next two years Smallwood will continue to award grants to individuals direct from the HQ.

Read more about the Flexible Response Fund  Source: Smallwood Trust