The Women and Girls Initiative Synthesis Report #1 (2016-19) reports on outcomes and learning from the first two years of The National Lottery Community Fund’s Women and Girls Initiative (WGI).
The report highlights key successes, including:
- The delivery of holistic, specialist support in the time and ways that best meet the needs of women and girls, working with women and girls where they are at;
- The relational approaches being used that are trauma-informed and support a wide variety of practical, emotional and social needs;
- Being flexible in order to respond to needs as they emerge and change, without restricting criteria;
- Women and girls are experiencing benefits from support offered including increased confidence and wellbeing, improved relationships and employment opportunities.
The report also outlines key challenges, including:
- The high demand for services and support can stretch capacity and lead to waiting lists;
- The work is demanding for staff, emotionally as well as operationally – burnout and high staff turnover is a concern for projects;
- Wider funding pressures present a challenging backdrop for the WGI, with sustainability an ongoing concern.
The Synthesis Report draws on data from project monitoring reports; telephone interviews with project staff; and thematic reports already produced with grant-holders.
All of this work has been undertaken as part of the additional support for WGI grant-holders, through the Learning and Impact Services, which was contracted by the National Lottery Community Fund, in recognition that there is a need to empower projects to provide strong evidence of what works when supporting women and girls, ensuring they have the confidence, skills and ability to share inspirational stories and communicate their successes and learning.
This support is being delivered by three partner organisations: Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR), DMSS Research (DMSS) and the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU).
The Women and Girls Initiative is a £44.7million National Lottery funded initiative which supports 62 projects across England to empower women and girls, in order to provide dedicated support for women and girls in local communities through outreach, advice and advocacy, refuge and prevention projects.
The Women and Girls Initiative Synthesis Report #1 (2016-19) was produced before the Covid-19 crisis but will still have some relevant issues going forward.