- Funding follows successful applications to this year’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Health and Wellbeing Fund
- Money will help women to remain in or return to the workplace through and following pregnancy, pregnancy loss or menopause, and delivers on commitments in the first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England
Over £1.97 million has been awarded to organisations across England to bolster innovative schemes that are improving the health of women in the workplace.
Launched in April 2018, the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Fund is a joint initiative run by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency. A new round of the fund is launched every year and typically runs over 3 financial years.
The theme of the fund for 2022 to 2025 is women’s reproductive wellbeing in the workplace. Linking in with the development of the new Women’s Health Strategy, this fund aims to support organisations that can provide a holistic support offer to assist women experiencing reproductive health issues – for example, menopause, fertility problems, miscarriage and pregnancy loss, menstrual health, and gynaecological conditions – to remain in and return to the workplace.
We are supporting women experiencing reproductive health issues – such as pregnancy loss or menopause – to remain in or return to the workplace through the Health and Wellbeing Fund.
We have already put women’s health at the top of the agenda by publishing the first ever Women’s Health Strategy for England, but there’s always more that can be done.
The contribution that the VCSE sector makes towards improving health and care is invaluable, and improves the health of thousands of women.
The funding announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving the health of women through the first-ever Women’s Health Strategy, a landmark moment in addressing entrenched inequalities, and improving the health and wellbeing of women across the country.
Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:
The VCSE sector makes a significant contribution towards improving health and care, and these projects will help deliver some of the important commitments set out in the Women’s Health Strategy for England.
The sector brings a wealth of understanding of the impact on people’s lives, including those from disadvantaged groups, helping us provide positive support to even more women wanting to remain in and return to the workplace.
Ashiana Community Project
Ashiana Community Project will be using funding to tackle gender inequalities that women experiencing menopause transition experience in the workplace. This will include:
- capturing the lived experiences of women to inform, educate and advocate change
- providing opportunities to offer tailored interventions so the diverse needs of women from all cultures can be addressed
- enabling timely support
- challenging negative stereotypes
Best Beginnings is a national charity that works to support all parents and caregivers throughout pregnancy and until children are 5 years old, with a focus on reducing inequalities.
Its project will engage with employers, women and birthing people to co-produce materials to help new parents manage their health and wellbeing at work.
Birmingham Voluntary Services Council, Salus Fatigue Foundation and Disability Resource Centre
The partnership between Birmingham Voluntary Services Council, Salus Fatigue Foundation and Disability Resource Centre will use funding to develop a service that supports:
- women’s hormonal health in the workplace
- unemployed women experiencing hormonal health issues to re-join the workforce
This is part of its aim to ensure those of working age receive timely and accessible hormonal health support that is personal to them. It will support workplaces and culture to be more accepting and supportive of women with hormonal health issues.
By developing an employer pledge, the partnership will support employers in making women feel confident in applying for employment where their health and wellbeing will be prioritised.
The sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook will be using funding to deliver tailored one-to-one support, addressing the stigma and raising awareness of the impact the menopause can have within the workplace, and providing practical support to local businesses to redevelop their policies and procedures so that they are inclusive of people experiencing the menopause.
Endometriosis UK’s project will be to develop a national Workplace Menstrual Wellbeing scheme.
Building on the achievements of the charity’s existing Endometriosis-Friendly Employer (EFE) programme, the new scheme will provide small and medium-sized enterprises with targeted resources to support employees with a broad range of menstrual health conditions, including webinars, case studies and downloadable materials.
Fertility Network UK
Fertility Network UK aims to:
- change the work landscape for working women experiencing fertility issues
- remove the taboos around infertility
The charity helps firms support staff on their fertility journey by working closely with organisations. This includes developing tailor-made fertility policies, and facilitating sessions with managers and staff to enhance understanding of the impact of infertility and its treatment.
The London-based national charity is focusing first on projects in the Yorkshire, Humber and North East of England.
Here, a partnership health service for care, will be implementing a menopause programme in Brighton and Hove.
It will work with small and medium-sized businesses to increase understanding and support for women going through the menopause in the workplace.
Maternity Action, a maternity rights charity, will use the funding to support better health and employment outcomes for working women who are pregnant, recovering from giving birth, breastfeeding or experiencing pregnancy loss.
This project will include:
- providing information to employees
- enabling access to legal support for families
- providing toolkits for employers
Mind in Greater Manchester are funding a project to improve health outcomes for women and people experiencing reproductive health issues by delivering workplace training, raising awareness of the issues and providing an improved mindfulness offer.
Sands is a UK charity that works to save babies’ lives and supports anyone affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby.
Its project will train managers and colleagues to support bereaved staff and colleagues by creating a compassionate workplace environment.
Suffolk Libraries will be using the funding to deliver a new service to support women in the county to raise awareness of the menopause and signpost advice.
The Eve Appeal
The Eve Appeal’s project, the Every Woman Promise, looks to minimise the negative impact of gynaecological health issues in the workplace by working with businesses to remove the stigma around gynaecological health and raise awareness of the support available.
The aim is to both improve the health chances for women and those with gynae organs to improve the work environment, through engagement at a management level.
The Heeley Trust
The Heeley Trust is using the funding to create a community-led approach by setting up:
- multidisciplinary clinics
- pop-up information sessions
- places for people to come together to connect, learn and share advice on occupational health
- peer support
- community wellbeing activities
Wellbeing of Women
Following the continuing success of the charity’s Menopause Workplace Pledge, which has been signed by more than 2,000 employers so far, Wellbeing of Women will launch a new project in 2023 to develop menopause support for businesses so that more women feel able to continue in their careers.
The charity will work with small and medium-sized businesses in parts of Bedfordshire to provide menopause awareness and training.
The Women’s Organisation
The Women’s Organisation are a developer and deliverer of training and support aimed at women in the UK.
Its proposed scheme, Workplace Wellness of Women, aims to use the government’s Women’s Health Strategy, academic research on women’s health, and small and medium-sized business employment evidence – including business productivity, health and wellbeing, and staff development – to devise and roll out a social model of health support package targeting small and medium-sized business employers in England.
National charity Tommy’s:
- works to reduce rates of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth in the UK through funding medical research to discover the causes of baby loss
- helps women and people who give birth at every stage of their pregnancy journeys, supporting them and their partners with expert information and care
This project will be helping women through their Pregnancy and Parenting At Work training package, which will help workplaces understand and meet employees’ needs through pregnancy journeys, including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and other complications.
Tommy’s will be developing free resources for small and medium-sized enterprises in both Manchester and Birmingham.