Baroness Diana Barran

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

100 Parliament Street



Dear Diana,

I hope you are staying well during this challenging time.

Further to our correspondence regarding the Tampon Tax Fund, we note that the next funding round has been announced with the deadline for applications as Sunday 31st May 2020. We are writing to you in the light of a new and significant challenge for women’s charities as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

WRC has participated in numerous emergency conference calls over the last two weeks including with the Mayor of London and London Funders and our own networks of frontline organisations. There are specific plans regarding civil society and those most vulnerable being discussed daily to respond to the situation, along with central government initiatives, all of which are welcomed. We contacted the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to discuss how to implement a community emergency rescue plan for our local specialist civil society organisations and this letter has been signed by over 60 Civil Society Organisations.

It is against this backdrop that we now write to ask you to take the lead in demonstrating that government is listening to women and their organisations by making an immediate emergency response and repurposing the Tampon Tax Fund, taking this opportunity to divert this fund to specialist women’s charities in the form of unrestricted grants. Our initial feedback from 100’s of women’s specialist charities is that they are working at double the usual rate and expect to see up to a triple fold increase in need. They are reporting that the most marginalised women and families urgently need help to buy food, access their usual medication, have phones and data to keep in touch and be able to secure their homes. The organisations themselves are urgently adapting to more digital and remote service provision, requiring appropriate equipment, additional staff and for crisis refuges, additional Personal Protection Equipment, hygiene products and cleaning.

We are aware that there are immediate needs and longer term planning required given the expected devastating impact of the virus on our communities and economy, we feel our request is an appropriate emergency response to the current situation.

We are as ever here to enable the most vulnerable women to have access to life-saving services and especially in this particular time of greatest need.

We are requesting a meeting with you, by whichever method is appropriate, as a matter of urgency.

On behalf of the Women’s Voluntary Community Sector,

Vivienne Hayes MBE, CEO, Women’s Resource Centre

Ann Clarkson, Chief Executive, The Preston Road Women’s Centre

Anne Fox, Chief Executive Officer, Clinks 

Annette Lawson, Ambassador, NAWO / Chair, The Judith Trust

Baljit Banga, Executive Director, Imkaan

Beatrix Campbell, Writer & Broadcaster

Bridget Stark, Director, Tindlemanor

Caroline Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Luton All Women’s Centre

Cath Kane, Broad Cairn Coaching & Consultancy

Cherifa Atoussi, account3

Chiara Vare, Project Coordinator, On Road Media

Christine McNaught, CEO, FWT - A centre for women / Coventry Women’s Partnership 

Claire Waxman, London Victims' Commissioner

Corinne Devine, CEO of Women’s Health in South Tyneside

Diana Nammi, Executive Director, IKWRO

Donna Covey CBE, CEO, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)

Dr C Quinn, CEO, Rape Crisis England & Wales

Dr Kate Clayton-Hathway, Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Shobha Srivastava MBE 

Eleanor Lisney, Co founder, Sisters of Frida

Emily Simon, Philanthropist

Fozia Haider, Centre Coordinator, Apna Ghar Women’s Centre

Hadeel Ibrahim, Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Heidi Riedel, CEO, Woman’s Trust

Jackie Longworth, Chair, Fair Play South West

Jocelyn Anderson, CEO, West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre

Joy Doal, Anawim

Joyce Kallevik, Director, Wish 

Judith Jones

Kathleen Moss, ACMA, CGMA

Maggie Baxter OBE, Ambassador of Rosa and Chair of Trustees of Womankind Worldwide

Marai Larasi, MBE, M.A. Advocate, Activist, Consultant and Educator

Margaret V Aberdeen, Founder, Breakfree of Domestic Violence Forever

Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, Women’s Budget Group

Mel Manning, Chief Operations Officer and Founder Freedom 2

Nicki Norman, Acting CEO, Women’s Aid 

Nicky T Iginla, Caring and Sharing Rochdale

Pam Saleem, Operations Manager, Ashiana Network

Rena Sodhi, Interim Director, London Black Women’s Project

Rose Ssali, Support and Action for Women's Network - SAWN

Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq, Chair, Deaf Ethnic Women's Association (DEWA)

Professor Rosie Campbell, Director of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, King's College London

Sam Smethers, CEO, Fawcett Society

Sarah Hill, CEO, IDAS

Sarah Hughes, Expert on women's homelessness

Shani Lee, Coordinator, The London VAWG Consortium

Shona B

Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, London

Stacy Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Her Centre

Toks Okeniyi, Foundation for Womens Health Research and Development (FORWARD)

Toni Meredew MBE, CEO account3 / The Women’s Development Trust

Zlakha Ahmed, Chief Executive, Apna Haq