Women and girls projects in Cumbria receive major funding boost

16th January 2020

Local groups supporting women and girls facing a range of challenges across Cumbria have received a share of more than £24,000 to continue their vital work.

This is the second time Cumbria Community Foundation has awarded money from the Tampon Tax Community Fund to help women and girls. The projects funded are addressing key themes such as: building skills and confidence, improving health and wellbeing, building social networks and supporting people affected by domestic and sexual abuse.

Be Me Project received £10,000 to work with 60 schoolgirls aged 12-15 in Barrow who have been identified by their school as needing additional support and intervention with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. The Be Me Project has been running in Surrey for four years, working primarily in secondary schools to support young women to improve their identity, wellbeing, and mental health. The yearlong project will deliver courses within schools in the Barrow area. Course Leader, Lisa Smith, said: “We inspire girls and women to find, celebrate and embrace their real identity and to be equipped to cope with the world’s pressures.”

Project John in Barrow received £3,278 to run a programme called ‘This is Me’. Katherine Burrows, First Contact Worker, said: “The nine-month training programme, which starts on 13th January, will enable groups of young women make connections in a safe environment, build relationships and improve their self-esteem. We will look at job opportunities including CV writing and at issues around health, including making sure they have access to doctors and dentists and sexual health services.”

Women out West received £5,114 to run additional sessions at Haig Enterprise Park in Whitehaven and a residential project. Angie Dean, Centre Manager, said: “We are very excited to be planning our first residential session to Keswick thanks to this grant. The focus for the weekend is on wellbeing and improved fitness. Our lead planner knows first-hand the power of physical fitness on mental wellbeing as she has used fitness to improve her own mind set and personal circumstances. She believes that fitness is for all and is a very positive, dynamic inspirational person. We will be having Yoga sessions, mindfulness exercises, walks, arts and crafts, physical exercise sessions related to our different abilities, and a whole host of other positive activities.”

Safety Net UK received £5,956 for its peer support group which is open to women in Cumbria that have experienced trauma through rape, exploitation, sexual and domestic abuse and is based at its head office in Carlisle.

Ellen Clements, Senior Grants & Donor Services Officer, said: “This funding supports groups on the ground that are making a huge difference to the lives of women and girls in our local area. We know there is huge demand out there for these services and we are proud to support small organisations working in our community to access vital public funding, which otherwise they may miss out on.”

The purpose of the Tampon Tax Fund is to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. UK Community Foundations is one of the UK’s largest grant-makers and was asked by government to distribute the largest share of the funding raised through the levy on sanitary products through its network of community foundations. A total of £6.9 million has been awarded nationally to grassroots groups in the two rounds of funding.