Smallwood Trust – Women’s Sector Resilience Fund


Grants are available for voluntary and community sector organisations in England that are supporting women whose poverty has been exacerbated by the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic or those that have been pushed into new poverty and financial hardship.

Current Status:  Open for Applications

Maximum value:  £30,000

Objectives of Fund

The funding is intended for women’s organisations in England that have been affected by the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, ensuring that:

  • Essential services are safeguarded and can continue to be responsive to meet increased demand from women who are being disproportionately affected by the crisis.
  • Women are able to access vital frontline services, targeting those who are most at risk of poverty and financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Value Notes

Grants of between £20,000 and £30,000 are available.

Organisations are asked to apply for a grant amount that is proportionate to the size of their organisation.

A total of £2.1 million is available during the first round and the Trust expects to award around 75 grants.

Who Can Apply

Applications are accepted from charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisation. Unincorporated organisations can apply but must have a governing document or constitution.

To be eligible organisations must:

  • Have an annual income of less than £1 million.
  • Have a track record of supporting women, including frontline organisations and services. National or regional women’s organisations that provide capacity building, networking and support to frontline organisations are also eligible to apply.
  • Have a clear mission/track record that is aligned to the Fund outcomes.
  • Be well managed with clear governance structures.
  • Have robust financial procedures in place
  • Be led by experienced trustees and staff.
  • Have a written governing document or constitution eg, articles of association, set of rules.
  • Have a governing body with at least three unrelated members.
  • Have a UK-based bank or building society account in the name of the organisation that has at least two unrelated signatories.
  • Have an appropriate safeguarding policy and other organisational policies in place.

Organisations supporting and led by BAME women, women with disabilities and financially vulnerable LGBT+ women are particularly encouraged to apply.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Payment that supports lobbying or activity intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, Government or political parties, or attempting to influence the awarding or renewal of contracts and grants, or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action.
  • Using grant funding to petition for additional funding.
  • Input VAT reclaimable by organisation/applicant from HMRC.
  • Payments for activities of a political or exclusively religious nature.
  • Payments to carry out long term research.
  • Goods or services that the organisation has a statutory duty to provide.
  • Payments reimbursed or to be reimbursed by other public or private sector grants.
  • Contributions in kind (i.e. a contribution in goods or services, as opposed to money).
  • Depreciation, amortisation or impairment of fixed assets.
  • The acquisition or improvement of fixed assets (unless the grant is explicitly for capital use – this will be stipulated in the grant agreement).
  • Interest payments (including service charge payments for finance leases).
  • Gifts to individuals other than promotional items with a value of no more than £25 a year to any one individual.
  • Entertaining (entertaining for this purpose means anything that would be a taxable benefit to the person being entertained, according to current UK tax regulations).
  • Statutory fines, criminal fines or penalties.
  • Liabilities incurred before the issue of this funding agreement unless agreed in writing by the Smallwood Trust.
  • Costs reimbursed or to be reimbursed by funding from any other source.
  • Purchase of buildings or land.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding is for organisations that are supporting women whether their situation has worsened or whether they are facing financial hardship for the first time. Organisations can apply if:

  • They are supporting women who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • They are providing services and support for vulnerable women, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • They are connecting communities and support communities to work together to respond to COVID-19.

Funding will be prioritised geographically for organisations in areas most affected by COVID-19, such as:

  • Greater Manchester and Lancashire.
  • Liverpool and Merseyside.
  • West Midlands – Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent and rural Staffordshire.
  • East Midlands, including rural Leicestershire and Derbyshire.
  • Hull and Humberside, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield.
  • Deprived coastal towns and areas such as Blackpool, Hastings and Kent.
  • Newcastle, Middlesbrough/Tees Valley, other North East areas.
  • London boroughs such as Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets.

Priority will also be given to organisations working with the following key client groups:

  • BAME women.
  • Women with disabilities.
  • LGBT+ women who are financially vulnerable.
  • Women who have experienced domestic violence, economic abuse or sexual abuse.
  • Economically inactive young women.
  • Carers and those who have been working in the caring professions.
  • Single parent families.
  • Women who experience depression, anxiety and other mental health needs.
  • Women leaving the criminal justice system.

The grants can be used to cover the following costs:

  • Core and frontline staff salaries, including existing staff whose posts are not funded elsewhere.
  • Project running costs.
  • Running costs/overheads.
  • Goods and equipment to support adaption of frontline services.

The funding must be spent by 31 March 2021.

How To Apply

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and organisations are advised to apply as early as possible.

Applications submitted by 5pm on:

  • 23 October 2020 will receive a decision by 13 November 2020.
  • 30 October 2020 will receive a decision by 23 November 2020.
  • 6 November 2020 2ill receive a decision by 9 December 2020.

Guidance notes and the application form are available on the website of the Smallwood Trust.

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