Women and girls initiative

The Women and Girls Initiative supports 62 projects across England, which helps and empowers women and girls facing a wide range of issues such as violence, abuse, exploitation, and multiple and complex needs. This National Lottery funded initiative also aims to provide quality evidence that shows what works to empower women and girls.

Funding size
£150,000 - £750,000
Total available
£45 million
Application deadline

Closed to expressions of interest

What's it all about

The ambition of the Women and Girls Initiative (WGI) is to support the development of a stronger sector through addressing four programme outcomes:

  1. Increased provision of holistic, integrated, person-centred approaches for women and girls at risk
  2. Increased involvement of women and girls in the design and delivery of the services they use.
  3. A greater number of women and girls are supported through the provision of improved specialist support
  4. Better quality of evidence for what works in empowering women and girls.

Only women and girls' organisations were eligible to apply. We defined a women and girl's organisation as:

  1. An organisation that has been established with the key aim of working with women and girls only, or
  2. The majority of beneficiaries served by the organisation are, and will continue to be, women and girls, and the vast majority of the services will reflect this.

Organisations could either focus on specific issues (for example, domestic and sexual violence or mental health), or run community-based services such as a women’s centre or youth group. The funded projects are ambitious and help to create capacity in organisations.

The awards are between £150,000 and £750,000 for up to five years (2016-2021).

Projects are currently in grant management. Funding will end in 2021.

See a list of all of our awards


Following consultation with a range of stakeholders, we believe that the most powerful and impactful action The National Lottery Community Fund could take is to provide the Women and Girls Initiative (WGI) projects with the confidence, skills and ability to make a clear, cohesive case for gender specific services, through the work that they do and the stories of the women and girls they support.

To achieve this, in January 2018, the fund procured the WGI Impact and Learning Services contract with Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) in partnership with DMSS Research (DMSS) and the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU).

The purpose of this Impact and Learning contract is to:

  • Enable and empower local projects to evaluate their work and then use their learning in meaningful ways
  • Identify cross-cutting findings and share these with WGI projects and across the sector so they are relevant and timely for use by different stakeholders.

TIHR and partners will support the 62 projects to record and share their learning and through this create a stronger co services that have greater influence on decision making structures across the country.

Following consultation with the projects, it was agreed a range of activities will be delivered over the lifetime of the programme:

  • One-to-one support for projects
  • An online learning hub
  • Action Learning Sets
  • Masterclasses and workshops
  • Evaluation activities
  • Regular papers/publications: blogs, reports and briefings
  • A national conference in 2020, to showcase and share project achievements and learning.

The evaluation objectives that will inform the learning and impact for WGI are:

  • Identify what more holistic/person-centred approaches for women and girls at risk looks like
  • Describe how these approaches can increase and improve specialist support
  • Understand what enables women and girls to be co-producers of services
  • Support projects to generate and use their own local evidence.


You can read more about the Women and girls initiative in our publications, found on our Insights page.