£9.1MILLION AWARDED TO 20 SPECIALIST PROJECTS to tackle homelessness, abuse & mental health

29th September 2021

Comic Relief’s Change Makers programme is funding 20 new initiatives involving 45 organisations, spanning all four nations of the UK, over the next five years. They will tackle serious issues that have seen increased demand for help throughout the pandemic including homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health. The programme aims to find innovative solutions to problems affecting vulnerable people that have been overlooked or under-resourced at a local, regional and national level. 

Samir Patel, CEO of Comic Relief, said: “It’s fantastic that through our new Change Makers programme we are able to support 20 ‘game changing’ projects that are working with thousands of vulnerable people and families throughout the UK. Each project aims to provide vital long-term support and make a real positive impact on communities hardest hit by the pandemic.” 

The successful 20 initiatives to receive funding are:

Dingley’s Promise(opens in new window) – funding awarded to tackle the challenges facing the childcare sector across the UK, and build the skills and confidence of nurseries to provide childcare that’s inclusive for all, including children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They aim to do this by training 10% of practitioners in the UK, and working with 30 local authorities to develop local strategies for inclusion, underpinned by widespread understanding and confidence in inclusive practice 

Kinship(opens in new window) – funding awarded to influence policy and campaign for the rights of carers, ensuring kinship families in England and Wales can access support. This will mean better support for more children who will avoid going into the care system, and achieve better life outcomes

Women’s Aid Northern Ireland(opens in new window), and eight local Women’s Aid organisations across Northern Ireland – funding awarded to support children up to age of five who experience domestic violence and abuse by developing a network of champions to advocate for children and their mums, train professionals to better understand their needs and work to shift policy and practice across Northern Ireland to help young children and mums survive and thrive

Women’s Health and Family Services and Ratio(opens in new window) – funding awarded to develop their Maternity Mates service in East London. Maternity Mates are volunteers who provide peer support to help isolated women through pregnancy, and the first weeks and months of their child’s life. They will expand their support to cover more aspects of early development during the baby’s first 18 months, helping mums to be more aware of their baby’s needs and get the right support so that more infants can have a better start in life

Southall Black Sisters(opens in new window) with Angelou Centre(opens in new window), Latin American Women's Rights Service(opens in new window), Safety for Sisters(opens in new window) and Ubuntu Women's Shelter(opens in new window) – funding awarded to assist women and children survivors of domestic abuse and other gender related violence to secure effective protection and fundamental human rights. Working across England, with local partner organisations, they will build a base of evidence for changes that are needed, and will work with women with lived experience to shift the narrative in communities, the public sector and parliament. In doing so, they will ensure migrant women with no recourse to public funds have better access to safety, protection, rights, subsistence, and support

Wearside Women In Need(opens in new window) with Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse(opens in new window) – funding awarded to deliver direct services to victims of domestic abuse and their children. The women-led, specialist domestic abuse organisation works across Sunderland, Washington and the Coalfields areas. They will use their funding to empower families and friends who are trying to support victims of domestic abuse, creating support networks, and developing third-party reporting pathways for families and friends to secure help

Women’s Budget Group(opens in new window) – specialises in high-quality research and briefings that apply a gender lens to economic policy. Funding awarded to continue this work and also build the capacity of women and women’s groups across the country to participate in economic debates, helping them to use relevant data and advocate for just services

RECLAIM(opens in new window) with Pankhurst Trust(opens in new window) – from their base in Manchester, RECLAIM work to create a Britain where people from working-class backgrounds are proud of – and not held back by – their roots. They have partnered with the Pankhurst Trust, which fights to promote women’s equality and supports women at risk of domestic abuse. Funding awarded to involve young working-class women in social movements and grass roots campaigning, to run campaigns on the issues most important to them, and secure policy and practice change

Justice and Care(opens in new window) – funding awarded to work with victims of modern slavery and human trafficking to bring their abusers to justice, provide wellbeing support and advice to victims, and dismantle criminal networks across the UK. They will deploy a specialist Organised Immigration Crime Navigator who will support Border Police and immigration partners at ports in Essex and Dover while they assess lorries and identify human trafficking victims, providing care and protection, supporting victims from further exploitation and from traffickers operating in the area

Centre for Knowledge Equity(opens in new window) – funding awarded to harness the leadership, collective energy and ingenuity of leaders with lived experience in the migrant and refugee sector to improve the lives of the communities they represent and serve by elevating their untapped leadership and wisdom

Ashley Community & Housing(opens in new window) with Refuge, Asylum and Migration Policy Bristol – funding awarded to support refugees in Bristol and beyond by helping to challenge some of the stigmas surrounding migrants and refugees, and influencing city-level and regional strategies that will lead to more successful integration

Scottish Refugee Council(opens in new window) – funding awarded to work with artists and activists from refugee and other migrant backgrounds, the arts and cultural sector in Scotland, and refugee organisations to help improve the integration of refugees and other migrants living in Scotland and improve cultural and social opportunities

Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group(opens in new window) – funding awarded to better understand people’s experiences of immigration removal centres in the UK, and document findings to influence policy makers

Advonet(opens in new window), with Leeds Mind(opens in new window) and the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership(opens in new window) – funding awarded to support autistic adults in West Yorkshire with their mental health via support groups and access to key resources 

Power The Fight(opens in new window) – funding awarded to develop a new model of therapeutic support for young people and families from communities facing racial inequality in London who are at risk of, or have experienced, a traumatic loss through youth-led violence 

Midaye Somali Development Network(opens in new window) – funding awarded to support migrant women living in West London to access targeted mental health services. Funding will also help challenge the taboos surrounding mental health in the local community via training, counselling, and sharing best practices with similar organisations in the area

UK Youth(opens in new window), with The Diana Award(opens in new window) and the Centre for Mental Health(opens in new window) – funding awarded to help improve the mental health support available to young people from communities facing racial inequality – who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – to ensure it best meets their needs

Groundswell(opens in new window), working with On Our Radar(opens in new window) – funding awarded to grow their citizen journalism work by giving more people with experience of homelessness the opportunity to share their experiences and influence how health services are designed and run, and contribute to their goal to tackle homeless health inequality

Housing Justice Cymru(opens in new window) working with partners Tai Pawb(opens in new window), The Wallich(opens in new window), Welsh Refugee Council(opens in new window), and Oasis Cardiff(opens in new window) – funding awarded to support people seeking asylum in the UK by providing vital services such as legal support and safe housing in Wales. This will help migrants integrate into Welsh life, and prevent destitution and homelessness for people at high risk

Centre for Homelessness Impact(opens in new window) – funding awarded to support local councils and frontline organisations to tackle homelessness in their own area. What Works Communities will improve the available support for people who face the trauma and challenges of homelessness, help them find safe and secure housing, and rebuild their lives