Scottish group that helps women out of poverty doubles in size
Third Force News, by Paul Cardwell
WEvolution awarded £200,000 funding
A charity that helps women from some of Scotland’s poorest communities get out of poverty by becoming entrepreneurs is to more than double in size after being awarded £200,000 funding.
Wevolution will be able to employ new staff and create 20 more of its self-reliant groups, giving women the chance to come together, develop business ideas, make some money and learn new skills.
Based in Glasgow since it was set up in 2013, the charity – which was formed out of a Church of Scotland project – currently has 15 groups across Glasgow, Inverclyde, Edinburgh and Dundee.
The groups bring women together in communities and offers them expert advice and in some cases small loans to set up businesses.
Existing groups include the Provanmill Self-Reliant Group whose eight members raised finance to set up a lunch club, which then generated enough income for a community laundry. Other enterprises include the Maryhill Self-Reliant Group with members creating home furnishings to sell.
We took the example of what women in India were achieving with access to small loans and believed it could work here too – we have been proven right
The announcement of funding, from the Scottish Government, comes ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Welcoming the cash, Wevolution’s managing director Noel Mathias said: “This is a remarkable vindication of all the hard work we have been doing since this idea sprang from a Church of Scotland project in 2011.
“We took the example of what women in India were achieving with access to small loans and believed it could work here too.
“We have been proven right, and now we can quickly grow this model to benefit other women across Scotland.”
The Church, which continues to support Wevolution – including through £200,000 grant which has gone towards WeeChange a microfinance initiative which offers interest free loans of up to £2,000 to the groups – is delighted with the latest announcement.
Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, said: “We are committed to finding means of alternative credit and finance. Wevolution is a step towards that goal.”
Community empowerment minister Marco Biagi MSP said: “Wevolution is an example of the type of project that we want to see flourish in Scotland. It is working with women in some of our most disadvantaged communities and giving them the skills and confidence to become entrepreneurs.”