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Women Returners raised £2,072 from 23 supporters


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Closed 30/11/2022

raised of £7,000 target by 23 supporters

    Weʼve raised £2,072 to provide free personalised return-to-work support to disadvantaged women in the UK who have taken multi-year career breaks

    Funded on Wednesday, 30th November 2022

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    We hear many heart-breaking stories of women returners who have suffered extreme hardship: family poverty, bereavement, refugees. These women desperately need to return to work, but they are faced with huge barriers. That’s why we have set up the fund, to help those women returners who are most in need of personalised return-to-work support, but who can least afford it. This not-for-profit Fund is in memory of our inspirational colleague and dear friend Liz Mason, who died suddenly in February 2022.

    Who is the Fund targeted at?

    The Fund will support women with professional backgrounds who have been out of paid employment for at least 2 years and who are currently on benefits, have refugee status and/or have suffered extreme personal hardships such as close family bereavement.

    What will the Funding be used for?

    Using a proven model, we will provide free personalised support to help these women to get back into suitable roles in the workforce. These activities will be managed by Women Returners in a ring-fenced way alongside our usual organisational activities.

    The support will involve individual 1-2-1 meetings to understand each person's story and individual needs and to provide them a return-to-work support plan. This will be followed by a structured programme of small group virtual coaching and skills training. Topics will include career focus, identifying skills and strengths, CV skills, interview skills and building professional confidence. If funds allow, we will also match returners with a return-to-work mentor.

    We offered this programme of support with Scottish Government funding and we know that it makes a huge difference to women returners. In Jan 2022, we supported over 80+ women through a series of individual meetings, coaching and skills training workshops and it was hugely successful.

    How does this differ to the support Women Returners already provides?

    Supporting returners to work is at the heart of Women Returners. We run the free Women Returners Professional Network where women professionals on career break who want to return to work can gain online advice, inspiration, connection with opportunities and access to monthly return to work support webinars. Through our partnerships with leading employers, we provide 1-2-1 and small group coaching support to returners on returnships and supported hiring programmes through the first 3-6 months back into the workforce. We also offer the option of paid individual coaching to help returners with their career direction and job search.

    However, as a small social business and without funding, we do not have the resources to provide free individualised support to returners before and during their job search, much as we'd love to do so. This fund will enable us to provide this support to those most in need, who can least afford to pay.

    How will beneficiaries be selected?

    We aim to open the fund for returner applications later this year. We will invite applications from our own Women Returners community of 7,300 professional women. We will also look to promote via local employment offices and relevant not-for-profit organisations. Participants will be asked to complete an application form which will be assessed to ensure the needs-based and location criteria are met.

    How will the fund operate?

    The fund will operate on a not-for-profit basis. All of the funding received will be used in a transparent and traceable way to pay the fees of freelance or contracted workers, at a suitable charitable rate:

    1) A programme manager to carry out the 1-2-1 meetings and prepare the individual support plan

    2) One or more of the Women Returners associate coaching team to provide the small group coaching and skills training services

    3) Administrative support, if the programme scales.

    The Women Returners Management & Support Team will provide their time pro bono to support the outcomes of this fund including planning logistics.

    Women Returners will contribute £2,000 towards achieving the funding target.

    About Liz

    Liz joined Women Returners in 2018 as our Client Director and was a pivotal part of our close-knit team. She was a lovely person - kind, thoughtful, smart, super organised and full of humour. Through her passion, commitment and energy for supporting returners with our organisation, she leaves a huge legacy. She had a positive impact on the lives of many hundreds of career returners who are now back in great jobs after long career breaks. The picture above remembers one of the highlights of Liz's time at Women Returners - co-facilitating a focus group of returners at 10 Downing Street, to help us to create Best Practice Guidelines for Employers for the Government Equalities Office. That's Liz on the far left of the photo. This is our tribute to Liz, building on her legacy and marking her passion for supporting career returners.

    Following our progress

    We will set up a webpage to keep you updated with how we're using the money and (respecting confidentiality) who is benefitting. We will update this page with details.

    We hope that you would like to contribute towards supporting disadvantaged returners in the UK in in Liz's memory. Any donation, however small, would be great appreciated.

    If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at

    Many thanks,

    The Women Returners Team



    • Women Returners10 months ago
      Women Returners

      Women Returners

      10 months ago

      Thanks to your donations, this week we will be launching The Women Returners Bursary Programme, supported by the Liz Mason Fund. This Programme will provide 60 professional women on extended career breaks of a minimum of 12 months+, who are either on benefits or have refugee status, with fully funded coaching and skills training workshops to help support them to return to professional work. The Programme aims to reach returners at the outset of their return to work journey and boost their chances of success. Thanks once again for your support.

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    • Women Returners2 years ago
      Women Returners

      Women Returners

      2 years ago

      Huge thanks to all of you who have contributed to this great cause. We are continuing to raise funds as a Women Returners Team and will be combining money raised at the end of the summer before opening the application process for potential beneficiaries. We can now share some new powerful evidence of how effective such support can be. With our government funded programme in Scotland in Q1 2022 supporting 84 women, 100% say they have increased their work readiness and over a third are already back at work. Thanks again, Women Returners Team.

      Share this update to help us raise more

    2 years ago

    Women Returners started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 2/1/2023 17.55



    • Anne and David Rae

      Anne and David Rae

      Jun 7, 2022

      This is such important work and done in the name of a wonderful woman, much missed. Thank you.


    • Anonymous


      Apr 27, 2022


    • Anonymous


      Apr 12, 2022

    • Steve and Carol

      Steve and Carol

      Mar 20, 2022

      Fondly remembering her passion for this great cause

    • Helena Fernandes

      Helena Fernandes

      Mar 14, 2022

      A wonderful tribute to something Liz did so much to advance


    • Anonymous


      Mar 11, 2022

      Excellent initiative!


    • Canset


      Mar 7, 2022

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    Women Returners

    Women Returners

    Women Returners is a purpose-led consulting, coaching and network organisation. We are a small UK-based social business, which supports experienced professionals to get back to fulfilling work after a long career break for childcare, eldercare or other reasons.

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