The Real Change Collective's story so far

25/02/19 | Articles

One year on..

It's just 12 months since the Real Change Collective was created, formed after winning £1m in funding from the Tampon Tax Fund (TTF) to pay for a diverse range of services to help BME women and girls across the UK.

Mariam Diakite speaks about success so far

When we began we did not have a name, but such has been the impact in such a short period, it was not difficult to think of a natural contender for this collaboration: The Real Change Collective.

For in only one year, our partnership has done just that - and had profound and hopefully lasting effect on the lives of hundreds of women and girls, helping with healthcare, jobs, fuel poverty and preventing evictions.

RCC is a partnership of six diverse and separate charities working to provide services to BME clients - often refugees and migrants.

Each organisation has been able to use the money for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's Tampon Tax Fund to add to and improve their areas of expertise.

So Doctors of the World have been able to make their clinic in London five days a week, compared to three previously, with 13% of women coming from outside London.

But they have also been able to make their phone advice line for women and girls with no access to NHS health care completely free resulting in hundreds of calls from across the UK.

This means in the most recent quarter the line received 2,030 calls, compared to the 600 calls it received when there were charges.

Olmec has tailored its award-winning RISE into Employment scheme for BME women, but also offering one to one advice and job coaching to 34 women, with seven getting full time employment as a result.

But Olmec is also providing invaluable advice to budding entrepreneurs and potential future employers, helping 38 women on a Step Ahead in Social Enterprise course, with 10 of those receiving intensive business support.

Migrants’ Rights Network has set up a BME leadership course with 30 women in training, which is about to complete its first stage in London, before being rolled out to Sheffield and Manchester.
Praxis, which is doing so much to highlight issues facing the Windrush generation – has been able to extend its immigration advice, but is also offering advice on gender-based violence, finance and housing issues.

IKWRO have been able to use the funding to recruit several volunteers to help run a training programme on violence against women and girls.

A major success, which has had very tangible success has been the benefits hotline and advice centre run by Arhag, it has helped 100 women from across the UK to claim more than £150,000 in benefits they were owed.

In one instance one disabled woman from East London, saw her annual income boosted to £23,000 a year after her benefits were slashed to just £59.50 a week, because she was deemed fit to work.

When we heard of this success the name Real Change Collective no longer sounded ambitious – but a reality.

It means the bar for the next year of the funding period has been set high – but we have the ambition and skills to surpass that.

Author:

Sainga Tony

Olmec