Project term: 3 years, (October 2019 – November 2022)

Through our earlier work through women’s commissioning support unit (WCSU), establishing the Mama Health and Poverty Partnership (MHaPP), it become evident financial inclusion mattered to women who considered themselves to be underserved communities often excluded from accessing services and financial products.

We were delighted the funder saw the potential of supporting a financial inclusion project that would benefit women furthest away from the labour market, women hampered by immigration status with limited leave to remain and women in essential, yet poorly paid jobs.

Smallwood Trust seized the opportunity to work with women whose preference is to create and maintain their family by earning a living to meet household needs, improve skills in enterprise and money matters plus develop expertise to become local advocates to communicate the financial hardships facing Black African and Asylum seeking women in Greater Manchester.

Led by Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) together with its place-based network MHaPP, their beneficiaries and volunteers of Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) this project will advance financial hardship and develop key messaging to place their experiences of at the heart of political conversation.

Taking a twin-track approach will improve individual and collective skills joining the dots of financial ‘exclusion’ through policy and communications activities in order to bring into focus the financial hardship of Black African and asylum seeking women together with underfunded women organisations.

Outcomes achieved to date

Having heard about the Financial Inclusion project and our continued support of the Mama Health and Poverty Partnership, Elysia McCaffrey, CEO at the Government Equalities Office (GEO), met with partnership members on 20 November 2019; to learn from the experiences of women at the sharp end of extreme poverty awaiting decision on asylum and leave to remain applications, many far removed from the actualities of the ‘gender pay gap'.

Outcomes from the training sessions so far

Following the managing money confidently Part 1; 18 February 2020 individual women report increased confidence and ability to manage finances and respond to sudden earning gaps

From the Influencing locally training on 2 March 2020, organisations report they are better able to represent their beneficiary concerns and ensure they are up to date on policy changes.