Rosa’s central aim is to increase funding for organisations that support women and girls in the UK. We do not fund projects outside of the UK.
We raise money to give as grants to projects and initiatives that we believe help to showcase innovative solutions to the issues facing women and girls. And we share their successes with other potential funders, to encourage wider support for this kind of work.
Here you will find information about the grants Rosa has made to date.
Please note, Rosa does not make grants to individuals.
Please contact us to talk about how you might get involved.
2012 - 2013
A Girls and Young Women’s Fund
When Rosa launched our Challenge Fund in 2011, we were looking for high impact strategic projects to support. Reviewing the 270 applications received from organisations around the UK, we were struck by a number of emerging themes and decided to commission an analysis of the applications.
This analysis confirmed our impression that there is a great funding gap for organisations working with young women, and in two particular areas: violence, and issues of self-esteem and aspiration. Self-esteem among young women is an issue that we’ve been discussing at Rosa for some time. It was highlighted in an online survey we conducted in 2010, asking individuals and organisations what they believed to be the biggest single issue facing women and girls in the UK.
We know this is a particularly difficult issue for groups to secure funding for, and yet it is at the heart of so many restrictions on women’s choices. So in 2012, we established a young women’s fund to support creative approaches that aims to unearth the roots of this issue and encourage individuals to find solutions for themselves and their communities.
Rosa launched her Challenge Fund in January 2011, inviting proposals from large and small organisations about how they would invest a share of £100,000 to benefit as many women as possible in the UK.
The Challenge Fund attracted over 270 applications, with a total funding need of almost £9million.
Rosa awarded grants to three vital initiatives with our largest distribution of funds to date. They will enable women and girls to challenge current threats to their safety, independence and wellbeing, and the organisations behind each initiative will work in partnership with others to ensure the widest possible impact of the work.
Cutting Women Out
Fawcett and the Women’s Budget Group are investing Rosa’s grant in speaking with women across the UK to discover the everyday impacts of government cuts on women’s lives, and producing easy to use toolkits that enable individuals to challenge and change how the passing down of budget cuts, especially to the local government tier, is set to hurt women hard.
Women are bearing the brunt of job losses, reduced benefits and the rollback of public services like the NHS… People are angry about this, they’re asking for information, for what they can do about it. But they only have so much time and energy to give – so we need to offer easy to follow information and advice about how to challenge cuts in their area.
Anna Bird, Acting Chief Executive of Fawcett
Young women and activism
UK Feminista is investing its grant in growing strong, young, grassroots activism which aims to bring about a transformative impact on UK attitudes towards women and girls.
While women’s lives have been revolutionised over the past 40 years, today there remains a vast chasm of inequality between women and men… Yet a collective inertia has built up around this, a sense that ‘it’s just the way things are – accept it’: violence against women, women’s hatred of their bodies, the lack of women in positions of power, all these things are frequently taken for granted as unfortunate but inevitable parts of life. But that’s not good enough. We need to realise that the possibility for change is within all of us. It is sustained, organised grassroots campaigning that has revolutionised the lives of women and girls in this country and across the world, and it is grassroots campaigning that holds the key to future progress. The £30K from Rosa will enable us to push ahead with our plans for a powerful national network of feminist activists – a movement for change.
Kat Banyard, director and co-founder of UK Feminista
Tackling violence against women
Southall Black Sisters will put Rosa’s grant to work with a network of grassroots organisations, to develop and launch a powerful UK-wide strategy that tackles violence against black and minority ethic (BME) women and girls.
Women and girls from BME communities have similar experiences to women everywhere when it comes to domestic violence, rape and intimidation. But many also have specific, additional problems that make them even more vulnerable. Lack of funding will mean more BME women and girls will die and experience serious harm as a result of gender based violence. Unless there are wider reforms, and more specialist services for BME women and children, it is likely this situation will deteriorate even further…. The money from Rosa will enable us to develop our strategy to tackle these issues, but most importantly, to ensure it is disseminated throughout the UK.
In our first two years Rosa made grants to support a range of initiatives working in our four focus areas of Safety, Economic Justice, Health & Wellbeing and Leadership.
Challenging Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK
Rosa collaborated with Trust for London and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to launch a UK-wide special initiative to fund community-based preventative work to safeguard children from the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK.
For too long FGM has remained a subject couched in silence, with communities fearful to speak out about the practice and its implications. This initiative will support a wide range of community-based activities and is a huge step forward in supporting communities to have a voice, take a stand, and make lasting change.
Maggie Baxter, Rosa’s Chair
The initiative supports organisations based within practising communities and, in particular, women’s organisations. Approximately £1million has been invested in 15 organisations throughout the UK over a three-year period, starting January 2010.
I find it extremely heartening that people are giving up their time and devoting their energy to working against FGM… So many organisations, motivated by goodwill and deep sympathy with affected women, are making a difference. Determination of the kind shown by the FGM initiative will eventually have the hoped-for results.
Baroness Ruth Rendell, Ambassador to the initiative
Rosa joined a group of 21 trusts, foundations and philanthropists (the Corston Independent Funders Coalition) – all grantmakers with experience of working in the criminal justice system. The Coalition aims to reduce the number of non-violent women in prison and together with the Ministry of Justice, we have created a £2million Women’s Diversionary Fund to support groups and initiatives working in this area
The Fund provides grants to support growth in community services for women and contribute to building the confidence of courts in alternatives to custody.
Rosa’s first three grantees, working on the issue of body image, were selected from 100 applications from around the UK:
Bin the Beauty Box: Feminist webs (NW England)
When we found out about the Rosa Fund we were so excited. It was one of the few funds that welcomed feminist work and allowed us to ask for what we needed. And it was structured in a way to help us achieve our outcomes and support us, rather than expecting reams of monitoring reports.
Rosa’s grant helped launch Feminist Webs road-show of creative workshops in 5 areas of the North West region: Tameside, Stockport, Halton, Wigan and Manchester. Match funding was raised by Feminist Webs (FW) from Awards for All and Children England to deliver additional training with youth workers in Lancashire.
FW’s aim was for young women to feel able to question and challenge society’s skewed view of the world; to feel they could support each other and were stronger through being positive to one another; to learn to love their bodies more; and to feel able to articulate what they want and need to make a real change in the wider world.
138 young women and 30 youth workers joined the workshops with:
Artist Sarah Greaves exploring what body image meant to them, media pressure, make-up, pressure to be thin, feeling ugly, and why we should celebrate our diverse bodies.
Animator Tamzin Forster developing the animation More than a Face about the cosmetic industry’s influence and the effect of airbrushing images on young women’s sense of self.
With Tamzin and young artist Hebe Phillips, participants created post cards about body image, what young women want and need today, and what feminism means to them. These were collected into a booklet, ‘Post-Feminist’.
Other events included Chanje Kunda’s amazing poetry workshop in Manchester; canoeing for young women in Tameside, and a workshop on ‘if women ruled the world’ from the Big Comedy Shop in Wigan.
FW’s impact assessment showed that 48% of the young women joining the workshops reported having low confidence in their body image. By the end of the project this had lowered to 23%.
The Powerhouse is a grassroots women’s charity based in Newham, London, run by and for women with learning difficulties to realise their voice, and promotes social inclusion, independence and life skills.
Rosa’s grant was used to launch Power Bodies, a six month project which aimed to see ‘women from all places, getting along and loving themselves.’ It addressed the health needs of women whose self confidence and belief have been damaged through discrimination against their disability, gender, sexuality and race.
The Powerhouse knows that women often don’t like the way they look and aren’t happy. In one session, the staff here wouldn’t let us leave without being proud of three things about our bodies – we realised that we have lots to be proud of.
Theresa, Powerhouse member
During art sessions, participants painted women from all over the world and talked about the fact that everyone has a different idea of beauty. They also visited leisure centres, smoothie bars, the theatre and the Wellcome Trust Museum to see an exhibition about the Human Body. The project also supported women to become stronger advocates, speaking out about the rights of women with learning difficulties at Community Health Meetings and in hospitals.
Power Bodies teaches you to like yourself, and feel good. I think women with learning difficulties like their bodies, I do not compare myself to magazines!
Acrobatic company Mimbre is an acrobatic dance company supporting young girls from low income families in North and East London to discover their physical strength through dance. They use a positive ‘can-do’ attitude to improve and encourage young girls’ confidence, strength and body image.
‘Have you noticed a change in your daughter since starting this project?’ ‘Yes, yes, yes, ideas, excitement, commitment!’
Mum of participant in Strong and Flying
In October 2009, with support from Rosa, Mimbre started working with a group of 20 young girls aged 8-12 from social housing estates in Hackney and Islington. Together they created the project ‘Strong and Flying’, in which the girls would discover, via acrobatics, acro-balance (human pyramids) and facilitated discussion, what their bodies were capable of. They discovered the strength in themselves as well as the strength of working together.
Joanna Ingham led discussions and drama exercises with the girls, focusing on body image, expectations and the media – and the girls raised thoughts and questions around friendship as well. They were really keen to express their views and opinions with peers and teachers alike.
‘Strong and Flying’ included sessions with the girls’ mothers too, giving the chance to talk about things they might not normally talk about at home, as well as to create a physical bond by performing acrobatics and pyramids together.
In February 2010, the group created and performed a show at the Union Chapel in Islington from the material they had learnt. It was a celebration of the young girls’ strength and focus as well as a showcase of their beautiful acrobatic skills. The audience loved it!
Feedback was enormously positive and families were amazed to see how the project had developed both the girls’ abilities and their confidence. Here’s what two mums had to say:
Strong and Flying has been a great experience for my daughter. It has helped her and me to work better together and understand each other through conversations and acrobatics. It has truly been a wonderful experience and we would love to continue even when the project is over.
I hoped [the project] would help my daughter to become more confident. She’s very shy. She has definitely become more confident and out of her shell. It’s fantastic! She has gained more confidence and learned impressive new tricks and ways to express herself.
During their last session, the girls said they felt stronger and more confident than when they had started the project. The majority thought it was important that it had been an all girls’ group. They were proud of what they had learned and created and some expressed the confidence to become stronger and better still.
To celebrate and encourage women’s leadership, and recognise women who are creating change, Rosa awarded the 2009 ‘Women Creating Change’ Award, to PinkStinks.
Emma and Abi Moore set up PinkStinks to challenge the ‘culture of pink’ which invades every area of girls’ lives. They believe children are being set narrow and damaging boundaries which provide an unrealistic and mediocre notion of what it is to be a girl. Their campaign focuses on providing positive female role models based on achievement, skills and successes.
The award gave PinkStinks a bespoke package of support, including one-to-one coaching sessions, advice and training on parliamentary and media tactics, and shadowing opportunities and mentoring from senior campaigners.
‘Women Creating Change’ was created as part of the Sheila McKechnie Awards, an annual awards programme that recognises outstanding contributions from a new generation of campaigners working towards social, environmental and economic justice. Back to top ↑