Cash to help Sunderland women work their way ‘out of poverty’

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HARD-pressed women are to work their way out of poverty as it was revealed that £42,800 is being put aside to help them start their own businesses.

An RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise Grant will help launch Women Out Of Poverty Into Enterprise (Woopie), with the aim of helping 40 disadvantaged women in Tyne and Wear start their own business.

The grant has been awarded to Sunderland-based Sustainable Enterprise Strategies (SES), to help women out of poverty and into work after winning a national online vote for grant help.

SES, which has more than 30 years experience working in the region, is one of eight organisations in the UK to be awarded the RBS grant.

It plans to work with 120 women, who live in social housing, are in receipt of benefits or are facing financial hardship, encouraging a more entrepreneurial culture.

“This vital funding will pay for our experts to help change lives,” SES director Mark Heskett-Saddington said. “We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for us and helped spread the message about our bid, which has been successful.”

RBS are making £3million available between 2012 and 2015 to provide grant funding to not-for-profit organisations that run programmes to support more young people and women into enterprise.

Its head of sustainability, Thom Kenrick, said: “We are delighted to support eight more organisations with this round of Inspiring Women in Enterprise funding. Once again we were hugely impressed by the depth and breadth of the enterprise support that’s available for women entrepreneurs in the UK.

“RBS is committed to unlocking, supporting and nurturing entrepreneurial talent and we believe these organisations will help us achieve that goal.”

SES has more than three decades of practical business experience in supporting social enterprises, and the growth of self-employment within the North East to help offer people alternative routes out of inequality and poverty. Between 2012-14, SES enabled 310 new business starts and 40 new social enterprises, while supporting 230 Social Enterprises that have a combined turnover of £23.5million and employ 1,400 people.