Women’s organisations ‘generate between £5 and £11 in value’ for every pound spent, new report reveals

January 18, 2012

womens resource centre logoPress Release from Women’s Resource Centre:

Women’s voluntary and community organisations provide excellent value for money in supporting women and children, a new report by the Women’s Resource Centre has found.

Based on two years of research funded by Trust for London and working with five women’s organisations, WRC found that by supporting women into employment, assisting women affected by violence and even preventing suicide, women’s organisations consistently save money for local communities and government.

Hidden Value: Demonstrating the extraordinary impact of women’s voluntary and community organisations is the first value assessment of women’s organisations’ work, published by WRC in partnership with the new economics foundation (nef).

Using Social Return on Investment (SROI) techniques, research revealed that between £5 and £11 worth of social value is generated to women, their children, and the state, for every pound spent on women’s organisations.

Calling the findings a ‘wake-up call’, the report recommends that government and commissioners who contract women’s organisations develop a much better understanding of the incredible value of such specialist services.

Research also found that:

  • Women’s organisations made a considerable impact on women’s overall mental health and self esteem, one organisation found that 71% of those who accessed their services had taken positive choices in their lives and were healthier
  • The level of value created by the organisations involved in the project was as high as £11 per pound invested in women’s organisations
  • Heba, the first Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women’s organisation to undertake an SROI analysis, produced particularly high results, with 84% of their users reporting increased independence from improving English to obtaining computer skills
  • The effect of such women’s organisations services on children was frequently a ‘double header’ – benefiting both women and children, showing the holistic impact of women’s organisations on families
  • One organisation (WGN) is predicted to prevent at least one suicide a year through its work

Five women’s organisations based in London took part in the research, Heba Women’s Project, Rape Crisis South London, Women & Girls Network, Ashiana Network and South Sudan Women’s Skills Development. Organisations trawled existing data, conducted interviews, measured the results of their services and undertook surveys of work in order to examine the impact of their services.

Vivienne Hayes, Chief Executive of the Women’s Resource Centre, said:  “There is much talk about the cost of funding women’s organisations; what this report shows for the first time is the undeniable cost of not funding them. The government always presses charitable organisations to demonstrate their value and the findings of this report could not be clearer: women’s organisations provide high quality and cost effective, holistic services for excellent value.

Anne Wilding, Project Manager for Heba Women’s Project, one of the organisations cited in the report, said:   “Grassroots organisations do understand the importance of sending out a clear message about our work, but in the day to day running of things, this just gets sidelined because we are so busy delivering much-needed services. This research project allowed us the space and expertise to really dig deep into the important work we do and show that the work we provide is both essential for women’s wellbeing and true value for money.

For further information, including hard copies of the report, or interviews, please contact Sarah Brown: Sarahbrown@wrc.org.uk or call 0207 324 3040.  Follow Women’s Resource Centre on Twitter: @whywomen or check out our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/whywomen

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