February winner 2008

Name: Rachel Cooke, HOPE Project, Wellingborough
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: : To extend the provision of services and activities to help reduce anti-social behaviour to build a safer community in which individuals - mostly single young mothers and their children - can gain skills and confidence to improve their lifestyle and assist them to seek paid employment.

What the judges said: 'This project, inspired and run by local women who have overcome many obstacles, is aimed at those who may not be able to access services in the usual way and seems to fill a gap in the community. We are delighted through the Hello Tomorrow Fund to support the appointment of an experienced development worker to extend existing activities into a more regular programme.'

January winner 2008

Name: Tanya Stock, Victim Support Northamptonshire
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: : To provide focused support for women experiencing domestic abuse to reduce risk and prevent abuse escalating into violence by empowering women to regain control of their lives. Most resource activity in the county is directed at high risk cases and intervention. This project will see additional training for six to eight specially selected female volunteers to be able to provide emotional and practical support, information and advocacy to prevent 'low-risk' developing into something much worse.

What the judges said: 'Poor education and inequality at work are two obvious obstacles to women achieving their potential. Lack of personal safety is another barrier, probably the most serious of all as it chips away at a woman's confidence and self-esteem until she believes she is incapable of anything better. The issue of domestic violence is a complex and sensitive one and by helping to increase the number of specially-trained volunteers through the Hello Tomorrow Fund we are proud to play a small part in moving forward this local programme.'

December winner

Name: Jim O'Rourke
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: : To widen the opportunities for volunteering and FA certificated training for women to manage Thorplands United Football Club and so help meet demand from young girls who wish to take up this sport. This FA-accredited training in areas such as child welfare and food hygiene as well as coaching can also open the door to employment where lack of formal education or work experience can be a barrier to work.

What the judges said: 'This application offers an unusual route to female empowerment through a traditionally male past-time and we were delighted to receive it. It shows 'out of the box' thinking that translated into the day to day activities of this thriving club is surely giving young women the confidence that they can succeed and achieve great things with the right encouragement - exactly in line with the aims of the Hello Tomorrow Fund.'

August winner

Name: Maylie Dickerson
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: To support the expansion of programmes for mothers at the Oakway Children's Centre, set in the grounds of a Wellingborough primary school serving an area that is in the top 10% of most deprived areas in the country.
The award will go specifically towards setting up organic gardening and craft workshops to improve knowledge, practical skills and self-worth and provide better role models for their children.

What the judges said: 'We particularly like the link between happy and fulfilled mothers being better able to support their children. This programme offers practical skills training in an informal social setting that will generate some income and perhaps ultimately see some of them becoming self-sufficient so it has multiple benefits.'

July winner

Name: Teresa Rockall
Award: £3,000
Category: Awareness and Education

Project: To support vulnerable young women who are isolated through low self-esteem and being held back by a variety of factors from realising their full potential. In association with The Lowdown, an established youth counselling service, it is planned to run a pilot project of three workshops from which it's hoped to develop a more widespread programme with other agencies.

What the judges said: 'Building confidence and self-esteem can make a huge difference to people's lives and all too often these days we find young women who despite their best efforts, seem to get knocked back at every turn. These proposed workshops will take them out of their comfort zone in a safe environment and show them that anything is possible if they have the right attitude and self-belief.'

June winner

Name: Julie Parsons
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: Through an established charitable organisation, this project will further develop a befriending and mentoring service for female offenders to help them make different choices, empowering them to turn away from crime and access services to support them in their attempts to improve their lives.

What the judges said: ‘This ambitious programme, led by a team of ex-offenders who have themselves been able to turn their lives around, has the capacity not only to rehabilitate these women but to impact the community as a whole. We applaud their determination and hope this award will make a real difference.’

May winner

Name: Christina Elvin
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: To teach stress-management to women carers initially to help themselves and ultimately cascade the techniques learned to other carers. The majority of carers in Northamptonshire (and nationwide) are women and while it's acknowledged they pay a heavy penalty in terms of their own health and wellbeing there is little or no support for many of them.

What the judges said: 'This is a growing area where women of all ages are called on to care for elderly or sick relatives without thought or recognition of the dramatic impact on their own life. These women can feel totally disempowered as a result, suffering emotionally and physically without skills, training or support to help themselves. This award has the potential to reach out and help many women through professional and targeted training.'

… two more winners (April)

Name: Kathryn White, area project development manager, YWCA Northampton Young Women's Centre
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: To further develop an existing programme of education and support for young disadvantaged pregnant women to help them overcome prejudice and enable them to take control of their own lives. The programme aims to empower young women through practical support to build self-confidence and increase their capacity to contribute to the community in which they live through education, employment or training. The award will be used specifically to run an accredited course to introduce new young women to the centre and develop their parenting skills.

What the judges said: 'This application is robust in its approach, not afraid to face up to the challenge and offering practical and measurable ways in which its target group can be helped in a meaningful way. While the group is small, the impact of the programme will be lasting with positive effects not only on the individuals concerned but also to their families and the wider community.'

Name: Catherine Barker, Pink Lady Studios, Northampton
Award: £ 300
Category: Awareness and education

Project: To help under-active women understand the benefits of exercise in improving overall wellbeing. Working with mums and children to reduce obesity and make fitness fun. Inspired by her own experience, the applicant has set up a studio where women feel comfortable, gaining confidence and re-building their self-esteem. The award will be used to run an open day to promote the message that a fit and healthy lifestyle will improve quality of life in many ways. There will be a fundraising element to this event with proceeds going to the breast cancer unit at Northampton General Hospital.

What the judges said: 'This is a fun concept designed to tackle a serious issue in a way that removes any stigma and encourages women to take responsibility for their own health.'

… to the first winner of the Hello Tomorrow Fund (March)

Name: Pauline Harris, director of The Inn Place, Eastfield, Northampton
Award: £3,000
Category: Community Service

Project: To strengthen relationships between newcomers and the host community by setting up a sewing circle designed to break down ethnic, cultural and language barriers among women of all ages and nationalities. The group will be based in a community café recently opened in a deprived area of the town impacted by issues of crime, unemployment, poor health, housing and few educational opportunities.

What the judges said: 'A project that will foster cross-cultural understanding and friendship. Sewing is a modern, cross-cultural phenomenon - a sociable past-time that has the potential to become a fundraising effort once the sewing club is established. This in turn will support the wider aims of the café and enable the volunteers who run it to expand their activities and offer opportunities to more people.'

NOTE: There were no applications for the £300 award which has been carried over to the next cycle. Closing date for applications is April 27th.