In the week of International Women’s Day, the founders of the Norfolk Women’s Fund hosted a screening of the acclaimed documentary, He Named Me Malala, the inspirational story of Malala Yousafzai’s campaign for girls’ education. The screening, held on Monday 6 March at Cinema City Norwich which was sold out with 100 guests, opened with an introduction from the Norfolk Women’s Fund, which supports local charities and community groups running women’s economic empowerment projects in Norfolk.
The Norfolk Women’s Fund was established in 2015 and offers grants of up to £2,500 each year to smaller charitable organisations and projects that are supporting women’s personal and economic empowerment in Norfolk. It encourages applications from specific groups of women and girls such as from particular ethnic origins or with a disability, particularly where a project can demonstrate that it will provide activities that will help women to overcome the barriers they face in taking a full and active part in their communities and in the labour market.
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Projects can cover a range of activities including:
- Skills and learning
- Employability and job search
- Business start-up and development
- Assisting women to access better quality employment
- Assisting women to access higher level employment
- Career and life planning
- Childcare and dependent care to enable participation in activities
Examples of projects supported to date include:
New Routes delivers a range of projects that primarily support recently settled, ethnic minority individuals, families and communities in Norwich. Many have limited or no English language skills, compounded by a complete lack of understanding of the systems and procedures adopted in the UK. Norwich has a significant BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) population in part due to its status, since 2006, as a dispersal centre for refugees under the Gateway Protection Programme which saw more than 300 refugees come to the city in the first five years of operating. At any one time New Routes can be supporting individuals speaking 23 languages, with very different backgrounds. The organisation has a base in Norwich, from which it administers and runs its programmes. Funds were awarded from the Fund to support a 6-month pilot project entitled Bright WINGS (Bright Women In Norwich Getting Somewhere), which aims to make a meaningful contribution to the integration and employment prospects of 8 recently settled, refugee women in Norwich.
Great Yarmouth Community Trust is a Great Yarmouth based charity which offers a range of projects including a crèche, adult learning centre, research services, marketing and cafe. There is also a day nursery, children’s centre and conference centre. Funds were awarded towards the continued delivery of a support and training programme for women who have had children taken into care, to help them overcome the range of barriers they face in order to be able to look after any future children or to have children returned to their care. This work also aims to improve the chances of women getting into employment as this creates stability in the home. The programme is aimed at women who experience the full range of deprivation indicators, including low educational attainment, high levels of poverty and worklessness and often poor physical and mental health, which means they are a long way from the workplace. This project was devised and delivered originally, in response to the number of women who were becoming subject to repeat care proceedings in the district, which drains statutory resources and has a detrimental effect on both women and children’s health.