Our Chair Joanna Murray (right) was delighted to meet Polly Harrar from The Sharan Project on 28 March to discuss our part-funding of their programme in Birmingham which will give realistic employment opportunities for two groups of vulnerable women from the South Asian community. We very much look forward to working with The Sharan Project and visiting the programme in action.

The trustees of Futures for Women are delighted to announce on International Women’s Day that they have chosen to fund the charity The Sharan Project as their first project partner.

The Sharan Project is a national charity that supports vulnerable women, particularly from South Asian communities in Britain, who have experienced persecution, domestic violence, forced marriage, honour based abuse and other forms of cultural conflict. The Sharan Project provides them with the tools to lead an independent life without fear and realise their full potential. Over the next 2 years Futures for Women will make a grant of up to £29,000 to part-fund a Sharan Project programme which will seek to create realistic employment opportunities for 2 groups of 20 women, based in Birmingham. The women will be supported to overcome the barriers and challenges they may face in securing employment opportunities towards financial independence. The programme will also involve partner organisations to deliver on employability training, makeover, interview coaching, and benefit related support.

Chair of Futures for Women, Joanna Murray, said “Part-funding an employment project run by a charity partner is a radical change of direction for Futures for Women. But our Trustees are confident that this new direction would have the full support of our founder Jessie Boucherett, who pushed hard against boundaries in the 19th century in order to give women the opportunities to carve out a career of their choice. We are excited to be supporting the Sharan Project programme for the next 2 years and look forward to meeting the participants and hearing of their employment successes. Its programme will also reduce social isolation and the risk of abuse, increase self-confidence and create a new network of friendships which will change lives forever”.

Polly Harrar, Founder and Trustee of The Sharan Project said “We are delighted to be working with Futures for Women, we recognise that economic abuse can have a lasting effect for women who have experienced abuse. This programme is designed to empower women to rebuild their lives towards independent living without fear.”

Futures for Women was formed in 1859 and since that date has been helping women with professional and vocational training, including the provision of interest-free loans for the cost of courses, in order to improve their employment prospects. Following a strategic review in 2018 the Trustees decided to cease the awarding of loans and part-fund a 2 year project that supports disadvantaged women into the workplace.

The work of the Sharan Project (registered charity 1149094) can be viewed on their website www.sharan.org.uk

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is always celebrated on 8 March.  This year the campaign them is #BalanceforBetter 

Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth and gender-balanced sports coverage.  Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.

IWD is asking everyone to put their hands out and STRIKE THE #BalanceforBetter POSE and make International Women’s Day YOUR day – and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women everywhere.

Ascension through artefact

Futures for Women beneficiary Phoebe Tan has just completed her Masters in Glass. Her project was entitled “Ascension through artefact’ and offered a vessel for cremation which is sensitive to the various traditional methods and elements to mourning, as well as the trends in contemporary design within modern Singapore. Phoebe is now pursuing her desire to teach.

Our Society has been helping women into the work place since 1859.  In 1871 Elizabeth Walker was given a rent-free room to help her establish her career as a glass engraver.  Queen Victoria later purchased two of Elizabeth’s engraved goblets and jugs.  We would like to thank Elizabeth’s descendants for sending us this photo and letting us know a little about Elizabeth’s life.  It is good to hear about beneficiaries – even after nearly 150 years!

Following a strategic review that took place in 2018 Futures for Women has ceased its interest-free loans and moving forward will be working with a charity partner to help disadvantaged women into the workplace.    A review of short-listed applications has taken place and it is planned to announce our new partner in March 2019.  Please watch this space for further details!

The Fawcett Society, Lincolnshire branch, and Futures for Women are jointly submitting an application to English Heritage for a blue plaque to be installed on the house in London where Jessie Boucherett lived for a period of five years whilst she was working on women’s suffrage issues.   The house in Kensington is still a private residence and so, if our application is successful, we will need the permission of the current house owner before any plaque can be installed. Currently only 13% of London’s 902 blue plaques recognise women so it would seem fitting that our application on behalf of Jessie should be accepted!  We will know the outcome of the application in October 2019 and it is a competitive process with only one out of five applications being successful.

Following our strategic review, held in the first half of 2018, Futures for Women Trustees decided to cease the awarding of interest-free loans and seek to work with a partner organisation to support disadvantaged women into the workplace.  A request for expressions of interest from charities who wanted to work with us in this regard was advertised and several charities responded.  The Trustees are now reviewing the expressions of interest received and will be undertaking a short-listing and due diligence exercise over the next few months.  It is expected that we will announce our new charity partner in March 2019.


Futures for Women is looking to change direction in how it helps disadvantaged women in the UK attain their career ambitions and become financially independent.   Established in 1859, we have a long history of supporting women into employment. We are now seeking to part-fund a project led by a partner organisation and have up to £30,000 available over two years (2019/20 and 2020/21).  The project should help disadvantaged women gain paid employment and we are flexible as to how this support is offered, the location and the type of employment attained.

Expressions of interest in working with us are invited from UK registered charities, with details of the proposed project, including target beneficiaries, set out in no more than 500 words. In addition an outline budget should be provided.  Please send expressions of interest to our Secretary, Jane Hampson, on futuresforwomen@btinternet.com by 9 November 2018.

If you have any queries about our new direction please contact Jane Hampson by email.

‘Vote 100’ and the centenary of some women gaining the vote have seen the profile of Jessie Boucherett being raised in her home county of Lincolnshire this year.   During the summer the town of Market Rasen, which is near to Jessie’s family home at North Willingham, hosted an exhibition in its Old Magistrate’s Court which showcased the work of Jessie and her sister Louisa.  The exhibition was collaboration between the Town Council, Rase Heritage Society, Fawcett Society and University of Lincoln.  Angela Wilson, Anne Egglestone and Angela Stubbs of the Fawcett Society undertook all of the research for the posters on the life of Jessie, helped with information from our book “Timely Assistance”.


On 7 August a private viewing of the exhibition was organised and Dr Anne Bridger (co-author of “Timely Assistance”) and our Secretary, Jane Hampson, were invited along to take part in a post-viewing informal discussion.   After the invited guests had had a chance to read all of the information about Jessie and Louisa, everyone sat down over drinks and cakes to hear more about the life of Jessie and the current work of Futures for Women.


A local photographer came along to capture the event and excellent coverage of the exhibition was gained in the local newspaper.


The exhibition has proved very successful in drawing people in from Market Rasen and Lincolnshire and has received lots of positive comments.   It is planned to take the exhibition on the road in the Lincolnshire Wolds and more work will be done on researching other influential women in a wider geographical area.


The  photograph below shows Dr Anne Bridger (fourth from right on the front row) standing next to Jane Hampson in the Old Magistrate’s Court.