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Big Lottery invest £45.5 million to change the lives of women and girls

Women and girls are at the heart of more than 60 projects across England which will support them to regain control of their lives.

Funding is focused on not only providing help for women of all ages faced with extremely difficult situations such as violence and abuse, stalking and sexual exploitation, but also in mentoring and connecting young girls with role models.

In Sheffield, one grant of £750,000 over 4 years has been awarded to a new voluntary sector partnership. They plan to address the shortage of longer term therapeutic services to enable women and girls to recover and move on with their lives after experiences of abuse. Their Recovery & Empowerment Partnership brings together 4 women’s organisations: VIDA Sheffield, Ashiana, Haven House and YWHP – Sexual Abuse Support Service, along with Chilypep, a young people’s participation project.

Maureen Storey from lead partner, VIDA, says: “This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate and see what works, to extend the reach of our therapeutic services to women and girls from different backgrounds, affected by any form of abuse. The focus of other services is often on short-term needs, and we struggle to fund the longer term therapeutic support that makes such a difference to recovery, and building resilience to future harm.”

“We can achieve so much more by working together, with clearer pathways between our services and from external agencies. And Chilypep will be making sure that service users are involved from the outset in ‘co-producing’ the project with us, and having a voice to influence future services in Sheffield.”

The Big Lottery Fund is investing a total of £45.5 million in 63 projects. A further £3 million will be invested in evaluation and learning, supporting the projects as they develop, and sharing learning so that other women and organisations can benefit in the future.

Geeta Gopalan, Big Lottery Fund England committee vice chair and chair of the funding panel for women and girls said: “Strong evidence from women and girls organisations told us of the increased demand for support, so we’ve been working closely with them to identify ways that women of all ages can get the right help, information and a listening ear to take control of their lives. We will be working closely with all the projects funded to share the most successful aspects so that other women and girls can continue to benefit in the future.”

“I am delighted that we can use money raised through National Lottery players to go back into the community and help young girls and women most in need.”