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The Smallwood Trust: Enabling women to be financially resilient

A new name and strategy for the Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances which has been helping women in need for more than 130 years.

Paul Carbury, the Smallwood Trust's Chief Executive, explains more.

Smallwood Trust image of a young womanThe Smallwood Trust enables women to become financially resilient by equipping them with the skills they need to secure a confident financial future. A key focus is providing grants to individuals and as part of our new strategy we are working with selected partners to help women overcome financial adversity as well as improve their social and emotional wellbeing.

Changing with the times

Edith Smallwood saw it as her duty to help those less fortunate than herself when she set up the Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances in 1886.

Our remarkable founder began collecting small sums of money to benefit women who, through ill-health or old age, were unable to support themselves. From these small beginnings, an endowment was created - the income from which still supports hundreds of women today.

More than 130 years later, the work of the Smallwood Trust is more relevant than ever. Research shows that disadvantaged women find it harder to remain in the labour market and are more likely to head poverty-prone households.

Having had to adapt to many changes over the last century, our charity is changing again to give greater focus to helping women become financially independent.

We have a new name – the Smallwood Trust – in honour of our inspirational founder, and a new strapline – enabling women to be financially resilient. We are aiming to award around £5 million of life-changing funds to support women out of poverty in the next five years.

Your support helped break the unbearable isolation and fear of losing my own home and now I can go out and face the world. I am so grateful.
Woman helped by the Smallwood Trust

Grants for women in need

To qualify for a grant, all of the following criteria need to be true for your situation:

  • I am a woman who is living alone or with dependent children

  • I have right of residence in the UK

  • I am of working age

  • I can provide evidence of savings of no more than £5k

  • I can provide evidence of debt of no more than £5k

  • I have little income and/or I am receiving means-tested benefits.

Please note: we are not able to offer financial support to students.


If you think that the Smallwood Trust might be able to help you, please complete the online enquiry form available on the Smallwood Trust website or by contacting the Trust on 0300 365 1886. Please note: the Trust will ask you for information on your employment history, financial situation and any other charities that you have approached for help.

Applications can be submitted directly by the individual or through a third party, such as Citizens Advice or a social worker.

Further support for women in need

We have started awarding grants to organisations for projects to develop innovative ways to help women along the employment pathway and for practical policy initiatives leading to improved economic and social outcomes for women.

We are piloting making additional grants to individuals in partnership with two local intermediary organisations: an incentive scheme to help women access jobs and a project to support women in or leaving the criminal justice system.

Later this year, the Trust will also introduce a telephone helpline to provide women with access to debt advice and welfare benefits information to complement the cash grants.

Find out more about the Smallwood Trust

Please see the Smallwood Trust website for more information about how we can or cannot help, then contact us on: 0300 365 1886 for an informal initial discussion.

Read the Smallwood Trust's profile on the Turn2us Grants Search

Date of publication: September 2017

Photos copyright: The Smallwood Trust.


Smallwood Trust image of a young woman

Courtney's Story

Our grant enabled Courtney to better manage her finances and stay in her own home.

Read more about Courtney