The Big Lottery Fund has awarded £48.5m to 63 projects across England that support women and girls facing difficult situations such as domestic violence.
The biggest grant, worth £5.8m, went to the anti-domestic violence charity Women’s Aid to fund a project designed to reduce the prevalence of domestic abuse, carried out in partnership with SafeLives, the charity formerly known as Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse.
The second-biggest grant, of more than £3m, went to Rape Crisis England & Wales to fund the development of a new online platform to help survivors of sexual violence. The third-biggest sum, £2m, went to Leeds Women’s Aid to finance the recruitment of a team of complex case workers who will provide advice to highly vulnerable women and children.
The Saheli Asian Women’s Project received £1.3m for its work with ethnic minority and refugee women in Manchester. The Together Women Project received £1.2m for its work to deter young girls from getting involved in crime.
Becky O’Brien, an ambassador for Women’s Aid and former victim of domestic violence who appeared on the ITV programme Britain’s Got Talent, said in a statement that the charity’s funding would enable it to give survivors a voice and ensure that they were given the confidence that they would be listened to and helped.
The BLF said it intended to invest an additional £3m in evaluating and learning from the projects so that other women and organisations could benefit in the future.
The grant-maker launched its women and girls initiative in June 2015 at a time when it said projects were under pressure because of funding cuts and an increase in the number of women and girls looking for support.
This week the BLF’s funder, the National Lottery, reported that in 2015/16 it raised the second-highest total for good causes in its history, passing £1.9bn to charities over the course of the year.