SAWN tell us how the Emergency Fund helped young women

By Rose, SAWN • 8 June 2021

In this week’s blog we hear from Rose from Support and Action Women’s Network (SAWN), a partner organisation who are helping to distribute Emergency Fund payments to vulnerable young women.  They explain the difficulties that young Black and ethnic minority women are facing during the pandemic and share how our Emergency Fund has helped.

SAWN is the lead organisation in The Mama Health and Poverty Partnership (MHaPP). This is a group made up of 11 Black and ethnic minority organisations. They include services for refugees and human rights organisations. Together they serve more than 400 families.

At a time when safety and well-being is what we all need, Black African women and their families that we work with at SAWN are suffering financial hardship as well as race and health inequalities and are being denied fundamental provisions.

Issues women SAWN work with are facing

Many women we work with at SAWN have insecure immigration status which means they do not have access to public funds, so are often blocked from accessing the safety and support they need. This means 4 in 5 are turned away from refuges. Some women tell us they are also reluctant to go to the doctor or hospital if they are worried about their health, because they are scared they will be reported to immigration enforcement.

Some Black African women and their families that we work with are often worried about reporting domestic abuse to the police or other statutory services. This is because immigration status is considered before addressing reports of a crime that has been committed against them, such as coercive control. This means when reporting a crime, these women are often threatened with detention, deportation, destitution or separation from their children.

How the Emergency Fund has helped

The Young Women’s Trust Emergency Fund was remarkably helpful to our service users during these challenging times. Many of the young women we work with found themselves cornered and isolated due to the changes that were thrown at their lives. The Emergency Fund payments supported over 350 referrals at SAWN. The payment gave these ladies a push of hope. The money meant that single mums were able to put food on the table. Others saw some light when they were able to pay arrears on outstanding bills, which had been affecting their mental wellbeing severely.

Young women were able to continue their pursuit of higher education as the payment allowed them to pay for books, transport and other costs related to their education. Thanks to the Emergency Fund, young women were able to stay in touch with their families and friends who were not near them, giving them a sense of comfort and peace. Some of our service users used the payment towards funeral costs of their bereaved dear ones affected by Covid-19.

Overall, it is fair to say that the Emergency Fund was a boost to many who were on a standstill, allowing them to accelerate and keep going despite everything that is going on.

For SAWN, using the Emergency Fund was painless and satisfying. The simple form allowed us to collect and relay the young woman’s information without being extremely invasive. This has been highly impactful in making changes in our community, allowing us to support many young women. We are extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of such a pioneering project.

You can donate to help us continue our work supporting women who are facing economic injustice.