Strategic Grant Funding for Women’s Centre

A STANLEY safe haven for women who have mental health issues, been subjected to abuse/trauma, or may be suffering long-term unemployment is celebrating a funding windfall to bolster its burgeoning business ambitions.

Just for Women received £620 from Stanley Town Council’s Strategic Grant Fund to buy machinery and materials to support the Crafting to Wellness group.

The new strategic small grants pot, worth £35,000, was launched in 2019 and supports smaller projects via a simple bidding process, administered by Stanley Town Council.

The award will help the not-for-profit organisation, which moved to its HQ St Joseph’s House in 2018, commercialise craft products, that include dolls, bedding and a host of other soft furnishings, produced at its Stanley base.

Just for Women director, Lestryne Tweedy, said: “Stanley Town Council has been an incredible source of support for Just for Women since we were established, most notably last year when it paid £190,000 for the St Joseph’s House building to allow us to continue delivering the vital support we do to vulnerable people in and around the town.

“This money from the Strategic Grant Fund will allow us to further develop the quality products being produced by the Crafting to Wellness group, which has helped many women and men unearth talents that many didn’t know they had.

“This fund is exactly what Stanley needs – it’s quick and easy to apply, very little bureaucracy and, once approved, the funding arrives amazingly quickly.”

Just for Women has helped countless women, and some men, find their feet following abusive relationships, mental illness, homelessness and other issues impacting negatively upon their lives.

Overseen by former social worker, Linda Kirk, who started Just for Women in 2011, the charity has grown from a support organisation to incorporate a business arm and is providing life skills training to people.

Using “crafting” as a form of therapy, it is now a cottage industry for the centre, which sells quilt & cushion covers, soft furnishings and teddy bears to help reduce the need for external funding for its support and training services.

Stanley Town Mayor, Cllr Carole Hampson, said: “For eight years, Just for Women has helped the most vulnerable people in and around Stanley not only find a safe haven, but provide access to training that has created jobs, improved mental health issues and given people a purpose in life.

“Hopefully, this new equipment and material will help Crafting to Wellness continue to develop this fantastic small business and contribute towards making more money that Just for Women can then re-invest in its support services.”

To find out how to apply to the Strategic Grant Fund visit: www.stanley-tc.gov.uk/grants/