Our PFG Social Impact Programme aims to help communities address the barriers to social and financial inclusion. Many of those barriers are specific to vulnerable women and girls, and in this article, we’ll share just some of those activities we’ve supported through our PFG Social Impact Funds and our Education work.
If you’d like to find out more about our Social Impact Programme explore the sustainability pages on our website here.
Building confidence and aspiration
Keighley Association for Women and Children’s Centre (KAWACC) is a small, needs-driven organisation that advocates for vulnerable and disadvantaged women. They organisation offers support which includes learning the English language, as well as integration into the country.
With a grant from our Manjit Wolstenholme Fund, which was set up in memory of PFG’s former Executive Chair, they were able to provide mentoring to build the skills, interest in and confidence of young girls to consider science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as a career.
“Having finished my A-Levels, I came to KAWACC following advice from my mum because I’d always had an interest in engineering. Through the Manjit Wolstenholme Fund grant, I had STEM sessions that were very empowering. That led to one-to-one sessions where we worked on my personal statement and CV and focused on career advice because I was looking to apply for part-time jobs. One of the positions I applied for, and got, was at KAWACC, where I had to develop and run an environmental project and lead sessions with other girls.
“KAWACC has helped me realise the opportunities available to me. In this area, not many people have the drive to go into higher education. They have some sort of barrier built up, especially if you’re an Asian girl. Having support in a women’s centre like this makes it more accessible. I feel a lot more confident in the next steps I’m going to take. I’ve decided to retake my A-levels so I can improve and expand my opportunities. I’m certainly more adaptable and know I have the right skills for the next stage in my life, whatever that brings!” Ayesha - KAWACC service user
Another of our funded projects strives for equality, safety and justice.
Kurdish Middle Eastern Women’s Organisation (KMEWO) has been providing specialist support services for Kurdish, Middle East and North African (KMENA) women for over 21 years. KMEWO is an organisation that is accredited as “led by and for” black and minoritised women that strives for equality, safety, justice, and empowerment.
KMEWO provides specialist Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) services and crisis intervention to some of the most vulnerable minoritised women who are survivors of Domestic Violence (DV) and Harmful Practices (HP), including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Forced Marriage, and “Honour” Based Violence (HBV). Their approach is a combination of (individual and group) holistic activities designed to help survivors of VAWG through recovery.
KMEWO is a member of the London VAWG Consortium, IMKAAN, and Women’s Aid Federation, working in partnership with a wide range of organisations, as well as VAWG coordinators and statutory services across London to influence and improve policy and practices supporting minoritised women.
Our funding is enabling KMEWO to provide digital skills training, ESOL support, and employment coaching to 15 marginalised ethnic minority women over six months in North London, through their ‘Breaking Digital and Personal Barriers to Employment project. The project will work with women to break down the barriers they face in achieving their personal goals including low digital skills, childcare, caring responsibilities, language, self-esteem, self-worth, low confidence, and lack of support.
Workshops and training include one-to-one advice and guidance sessions to identify barriers, digital skills learning (how to keep safe online, emails, setting up, accessing and installing apps, virtual meetings, using social media and skills to create documents); ESOL for employability; coaching and career-building workshops to prepare women for volunteering or employment opportunities; and personalised one-to-one employment support including online job searching and CV creation.
Alongside workshops and training, the women will receive advice, support, and counselling to support their recovery from Domestic Violence (funded separately). PFG’s funding will cover the core costs of an Employability Support Worker for six months to coordinate the project and work individually with each woman to support goal setting and access to support, advice, and counselling. It will also be used for tutor costs for digital skills, ESOL, and employability workshops.
Examples of other organisations and projects working specifically with women and girls who received grants from our Social Impact Funds during 2021 include:
- Rise Against Abuse – to support start-up costs for a newly registered CIC, for delivery of support to survivors of abuse
- Dadihiye Somali Development Organisation - to provide a linguistically and culturally appropriate debt advice service supporting ethnic minority people (predominantly Somali Women) in Kensington and Chelsea
- The Women’s Centre Sutton – to deliver digital skills and money management courses for migrant and older women
- Horn Development Association – “Go Girls” – to fund female-only gym provision in a deprived area with a high proportion of women who are excluded from exercise due to cultural sensitivities. This also provides wrap-around social integration to reduce isolation