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“This funding has been instrumental in helping us reach more women in local ethnic minority communities.”

The Network for International Women share how SGN: Safe and Warm funding helped their organisation.

The Network of International Women for Brighton and Hove (NIWBH) provides a platform for local women from diverse cultures and backgrounds to meet, share experiences and knowledge, and support one another. Many of the women NIWBH supports are migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

They’re a community of around 400 women, representing 56 countries and speaking 44 languages.

SGN: Safe and Warm funding enabled NIWBH to …

The support made a huge difference to me; I was worried over huge gas bills. You’ve helped me get energy advice and debt support. I received a voucher and support. I have now cleared the arrears. Thank you.

Aliyah*, Cost of Living programme attendee
Two women sat at a table having a conversation.
Discussing energy bills with a client. 

How has SGN: Safe & Warm funding helped your organisation?

The funding we received has increased our capacity to support vulnerable ethnic minority women and their families in Brighton and Hove. It has also enabled us to forge stronger partnerships with other local services. For instance, through our Cost-of-Living programme we secured match funding from the Citizens Advice Bureau to hire a room, enabling us to provide a safe 1:1 casework space, where we can support clients in private.

Since the inception of our SGN-funded Cost-of-Living Programme, we’ve witnessed a 25% increase in self-referrals—a testament to its impact. The funding has been instrumental in expanding our reach and ensuring our energy advice work can benefit more of our local ethnic minority communities.

With this tailored support, families from hard-to-reach communities will be able to improve their financial situation, general wellbeing and gain better access to support.

Fiona Sharpe, Founder and Co-chair of the Network of International Women for Brighton and Hove

How many households have you supported so far?

So far, we’ve supported more than 70 households. Over 75% of those households were given:

How do you deliver this support to community members?

We have developed a ‘Cost-of-Living’ programme where we collaborate with local partners to provide monthly face-to-face support sessions in central locations in Brighton & Hove. These sessions provide advice and information about energy efficiency, debt, benefit checks, government support and grants. 

We also promote awareness and receive self-referrals at our weekly meetups at the Jubilee Library. We provide interpreting/translation assistance at all our events where possible.  

Our vital support improves the safety and wellbeing of those at risk of harm or suffering from significant hardship. Our clients really value face-to-face and interpreting support, so we focus on providing help in this format. 

What work have you done around the Priority Services Register (PSR)?

We raised awareness around the PSR in a variety of ways, including talks at our weekly meetups, 1:1 support (home visits and appointments) as well as self-referrals at our Cost-of-Living sessions.

This work has had a significant positive impact, as very few of our clients were aware of the PSR. Many of these women, who manage caregiving roles or language barriers, now find peace of mind in knowing they’ll receive extra support during emergencies like power cuts or water leaks.

What work have you done around carbon monoxide awareness?

Through our weekly meetups and tailored 1:1 support, we’ve highlighted the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. We’ve equipped women with vital information about accessing free child home safety advice and equipment from the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

CO is a silent threat, so raising awareness is crucial to safeguard families. By understanding its risks, our clients are empowered to take preventive measures such as installing detectors, ensuring proper ventilation in heating systems, and maintaining their combustion-based appliances. This proactive approach not only prevents accidents but creates safer living spaces for our women and their families.

Many women having a conversation sat around a table.
A Weekly Network for International Women Meet-up.

*Aliyah’s name has been changed for privacy.