Grants to support women, & other funding news

Three business women talk around a table in a meeting room. Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels

From funding for women’s wellbeing and mental health services to the reopening of the Community Business Trade Up programme, and the announcement of the new European Roma foundation, here’s our latest update of what’s available.

Community Business Trade Up opens for applications

Community business leaders in England can now apply for an entrepreneurial learning programme and a grant of up to £5,000 to help start or grow their business.  


In its sixth year, Community Business Trade Up has supported over 400 community businesses since 2017.  The programme is run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), in partnership with Power to Change.

Typically, community businesses on the programme increase their income from trading by 64%, or over £22,000, year-on-year.  Between 2017-2021, programme participants generated an additional £13million of income from trading, employed 500 people, supported 1,400 volunteers and reached 400,000 beneficiaries. 

Community Business Trade Up participants get a fully funded 12-month learning programme (12 learning days), a Match Trading® grant up to £5,000, a community business mentor, and the support of a peer network of other community business leaders. Match Trading grant-funding pound-for-pound matches an increase in income from trading. 

This year, Power to Change and SSE are keen to support early-stage (less than four years old) community businesses that are:  

  • Led by board/team who are mostly from a racialised & minoritised community  
  • Led by a board/team of mostly young people (aged 16-35)   
  • Or located in and supporting deprived or disadvantaged local communities  

The programme will run from October 2022 to October 2023, with 40 places for community business leaders across England who will learn in groups of 10. The programme is delivered by the School for Social Entrepreneurs online and in-person – at four locations in England (Bristol, London, Birmingham and Liverpool).   

Pilgrim Trust’s Young Women’s Mental Health programme re-opens for 2022

The Pilgrim Trust’s Young Women’s Mental Health programme will open for applications from 1 June.

The young women’s mental health programme works to help improve the mental health of women aged 16-25 in the UK. The Trust has committed £5 million in funding over five years (2021-2026) with grants going to organisations that increase young women’s access to high quality, age and gender specific mental health services.

Grants of £60,000 to £90,000 spread across three years are available. Charities need to be working in Northern Ireland or the North East or North West of England.

The Trust is holding a ‘Meet the Funder’ online event on Thursday 8 June at 11am.

Grants of £200,000-£600,000 available for women’s wellbeing services

Applications are open for grants of between £200,000 and £600,000 for VCSE organisations specialising in women’s wellbeing services.

The funding is to support women experiencing the menopause, fertility problems, miscarriage and pregnancy loss, menstrual health and gynaecological conditions to remain in or return to the workplace.

The grants will be available over the next three years to expand and develop projects or programmes in these areas.

The funding will support projects and programmes working with communities to provide training for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) where internal support in the workplace is unlikely to be available and supporting individuals by signposting to clinical services, and helping them to address personal and workplace barriers to improve their wellbeing.

The grant fund aims to ensure:

  • women feel supported in the workplace
  • taboos are broken down through open conversation
  • employers feel well equipped to support women in managing their health within the workplace

Applications for programmes aiming to provide training and awareness for SMEs where assistance schemes are unlikely to be available are particularly encouraged.

The government will publish the Women’s Health Strategy later this year and will also appoint a Women’s Health Ambassador.

The application portal for the VCSE grant fund is now open and will close on Friday 5 August.

Open Society Foundations to create European Roma Foundation

The Open Society Foundations is to increase its commitment to Roma-led advocacy and change by creating a new Europe-wide independent Roma-led foundation with a broad network of Roma-led entities.

Under the leadership of Zeljko Jovanovic, currently the director of Open Society’s Roma Initiatives Office, the foundation will be the biggest European Roma foundation to date, and will receive funding from the Open Society Foundations over a period of 10 years.

The new Roma foundation anticipates being fully operational and launched by October 2023. The foundation will build and grow its network of European Roma-led initiatives, supported by Open Society and a range of other funders, including: the Roma Education Fund (REF), the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC); the Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (REDI); and national Roma movements including Aresel in Romania, Opre Roma in Serbia, Kethane in Italy, Roma Standing Conference in Bulgaria, Avaja in North Macedonia, and others. 


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