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Fund helps BME women with vital financial assistance

PICTURED: Senior project manager, Mariam Diakite

A SERIES of projects to help BME women and girls across the UK have been boosted massively after a year of funding from the Tampon Tax Fund.

Real Change Collective (RCC) has given hundreds of women vital healthcare, benefits advice and help to get work.

RCC is a partnership of six diverse and separate charities working to provide services to BME clients - often refugees and migrants.

Each organisation has been able to use the money from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Tampon Tax Fund to add to and improve their areas of expertise.

Doctors of the World, which provides healthcare to people unable to use the NHS, have been able to extend its London clinic from three to five days a week, with 13% of women coming from outside London.

It has also made its phone advice line completely free, resulting in the number of calls received in the last quarter tripling to more than 2,000.

Arhag, a leading London BME housing association, has helped 100 women from across the UK to claim more than £150,000 in benefits they were owed.

In one instance one disabled woman from east London, saw her annual income boosted to £23,000 a year after her benefits were slashed to just £59.50 a week, because she was deemed fit to work.

Olmec has tailored its award-winning RISE into Employment scheme for BME women, but also offering one to one advice and job coaching to 34 women, with seven getting full time employment as a result.
Olmec is also providing invaluable advice to budding entrepreneurs and potential future employers, helping 38 women on a Step Ahead in Social Enterprise course, with 10 of those receiving intensive business support.

Migrants’ Rights Network has set up a BME leadership course with 30 women in training, which is about to complete its first stage in London, before being rolled out to Sheffield and Manchester.

Praxis, which is actively working to highlight issues facing the Windrush generation - has been able to extend its immigration advice, but is also offering advice on gender-based violence, finance and housing issues.

IKWRO have been able to use the funding to recruit several volunteers to help run a training programme on violence against women and girls.

Senior project manager Mariam Diakite said: “When we began we did not have a name, but such has been the impact in such a short period, it was not difficult to think of a natural contender for this collaboration, The Real Change Collective, because we are having such a measurable impact on peoples’ lives.”

The project received £1 million in funding for the two-year project, which has a further year to run.

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