30,000 women, girls and families supported

By Paul Windo

In June, we marked the end of our Violence Against Women and Girls Grassroots Fund. The two year programme, in partnership with the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP), funded 41 specialist community organisations supporting women, girls and families affected by violence and abuse across London. The richly diverse cohort are all run by and for minoritised communities, 75% of which are led by women of colour.

Representatives of these organisations gathered to celebrate the impact made during the £3m programme, with over 30,000 women, girls and families being supported. We were humbled to hear and share stories of resilience and sisterhood with a room of Violence Against Women and Girls specialists and survivors from across our city.

Representatives of the 41 funded groups stand together with the programme manager at the VAWG Grassroots Fund celebration event.
Representatives of the VAWG Fund cohort (Photo: Laura Henry / Yellow Light Pictures)

We heard inspiring words from speakers Sophie Linden (Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime) and Jain Lemom (Head of Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls) representing our partner MOPAC who initiated and funded this vital programme. Our keynote speaker for the evening was Professor Aisha K. Gill Ph.D. CBE, Professor of Criminology at the Centre for Gender and Violence at University of Bristol. We had the opportunity to hear from some of the organisations and some of the survivors who have directly benefited from the programme too.

Sophie Linden - Deputy Mayor For Policing and Crime - addressing the audience at the VAWG Grassroots Fund celebration event
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor For Policing and Crime, addressing the event (Photo: Laura Henry / Yellow Light Pictures)

The Mayor of London launched this £3m fund in April 2021 to help address the needs of women facing multiple disadvantage where mainstream, generic provision is not always appropriate. This includes the needs of minoritised women from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer + women and disabled women, women with No Recourse to Public Funds and women involved in prostitution and exploitation. The organisations funded work tirelessly to support the recovery of marginalised survivors and to prevent the (re)victimisation of gender-based violence.

These organisations primarily exist to carry out research and provide frontline support services such as casework, advocacy, counselling, helplines and more. However, over the course of the fund, we have seen that they do so much more.
Kate Markey, CEO of The London Community Foundation
Panellists sit together in a line at the VAWG Grassroots Fund event. In the foreground you can see the back of the audience watching. In the background is a large screen featuring presentation slides.
A panel of specialist organisations, sharing their experience (Photo: Laura Henry / Yellow Light Pictures)

The evening also gave us the chance to hear from the small, frontline charities on the challenges, views and needs of minoritised and marginalised women and girls, who are victims of violence and exploitation. We were able to highlight the innovative co-design process of the fund, thanks to the hard work of our Learning Programme partner, The Social Innovation Partnership. Most importantly though was the opportunity to recognise the achievements and incredible work over the last two years to support women and girls affected by violence and abuse in communities across London.

There was a strong sense of community and solidarity amongst all those present. Relationships were established and strengthened, with a supportive and resilient sisterhood fostered that can only benefit the Violence Against Women and Girls sector across London. We can only hope that partnerships and collaborations will develop from this cohort of organisations that ensure that the impact on the lives of women, girls and families goes way beyond the funding itself. It was a humbling experience to be able to attend such an important event and to be able to add our gratitude and admiration for all those involved.

The fund has helped our workers know that they are not alone. There are others who believe in them.
Event panellist

If you want to find other ways that you can support marginalised women in communities across the city, why not donate to our Women's Fund For London.