Young Women’s Trust Covid-19 fund hits target and now aims even higher

24 June 2020

Update: Thanks to your amazing support we’ve exceeded our original target and raised over £200,000. 

Your generosity has allowed us to help young women who have been worst hit by the coronavirus. We will continue to distribute funds to those who are in need, ensuring that we vulnerable young women continue to receive support. 

An emergency fund helping economically vulnerable young women during the Covid-19 outbreak, which aimed to raise £50,000 has been achieved and exceeded, raising over £125,000 in the last three months.

Today, the Young Women’s Trust is setting itself a new target for the fund, four times its original, to raise £200,000 in total to help young women trapped in poverty as a result of the virus. [1]

The money raised by the fund, set up in March by Young Women’s Trust, is in the process of helping 750 young women. The fund distributes one off payments of £150 to pay for food, bills and other essentials like children’s schoolbooks. If the fund reaches its new target, it will be able to help 1,750 young women by the autumn. [2]

The emergency fund has already been helped by significant donations and the generosity of businesses and the organisation’s large network of feminist allies. The fund has received £25,000 from the beauty brand Olay and £25,000 from the Smallwood Trust – both long term supporters of Young Women’s Trust. £21,000 was also raised by members of the public through campaigning organisation 38 Degrees.

Young women have been particularly badly affected by Covid-19. More likely to have been working in shut down sectors like hospitality and retail and mounting hours of unpaid work caring for children, friends and family, many young women are locked out of paid work. According to domestic violence experts, abuse has also skyrocketed in recent months, leaving young women and children more vulnerable than ever.

Young Women’s Trust has spoken to young women who have received money from the fund. Many of them told the organisation the money has helped them buy food for them and their children, pay small bills, ease mounting debts, and in one instance, books and clothes for their children after fleeing an abusive relationship. Of young women who have received the fund [3]:

  • Almost all – 93% – have spent some or all of the donations on food, with 80% of young women already using food banks to get by

  • Half of the women are in high levels of debt and half are also receiving or waiting for state benefits

  • 35% have no recourse to public funds status, meaning their immigration status makes them ineligible for benefits like child benefit or universal credit.

One young woman, who chose to remain anonymous, told the organisation: “Thank you so much for the money. I am currently really struggling financially, I am a mother of five but only get support for two. I am also not working at the moment so even to eat or buy food or shoes for my children is a struggle. With that money I was able to install my new cooker. I recently moved to an unfurnished property and am having to buy everything and used the money to pay off a small bill. Thank you very much for your support.”

Thanking supporters and announcing the new target, Director of Fundraising at Young Women’s Trust Laura Perkins said:

“Young women were struggling before this crisis began, but we knew this pandemic was going to make things even harder for so many of them which is why we worked quickly to set up the fund. But this problem is not going away.

“So far the money raised has helped vulnerable young women buy food for them and their children, pay mounting bills, books to help women to study and ease the burden and anxiety of debt.

“We have been blown away by the generosity of our allies and supporters since we launched the fund in March. We think we can go even further than the £126,000 we’ve already raised and have set ourselves an ambitious goal to quadruple our original target to £200,000. This will help us reach and help 1,750 young women by the autumn who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Note to editors

  1. At the launch of the fund, Young Women’s Trust allocated £85,000 of its own money and set a target to raise an additional £50,000 for the fund. The fund has already raised £126,000 and now aims to get to £200,000 in donations. £22,000 has been put aside to administer the fund over a 6-month period.
  2. Partner charities Women’s Aid, Women’s Resource Centre and Women for Refugee Women have been acting as referral partners, referring women from their networks who are economically vulnerable, experiencing domestic violence and those who are living in insecure housing to the fund.
  3. Figures are based on a survey of 224 young women who have already received money from Young Women’s Trust Emergency Fund.