Housing for Women secures £420,000 of National Lottery funding to reunite mothers leaving prison with their children

Published 11 September 2018

Housing for Women, the independent housing provider and charity with a mission to empower women and challenge inequalities, has relaunched its ReUnite project this month following a £420,000 National Lottery funding boost.

The ReUnite project provides support to reunite women released from prison with their children, working with mothers who would otherwise be homeless. Caught in a ‘Catch 22’ situation, upon release from prison a woman is generally unable to get her children back from social care or family arrangements unless she has somewhere suitable to live. However, she is often not entitled to suitable housing unless her children are living with her.

This latest funding from the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will be in conjunction with generous grants from the Coutts Foundation and Mary Kinross Charitable Trust. The funding will support:

  • Supported accommodation with space for group work and therapeutic services. Experienced support workers provide advocacy, practical and emotional support for issues including employment, debt, practical living skills and community involvement.
  • Floating support services in the community, including advocacy to help women secure accommodation. This is available to women across all London Boroughs.
  • Children and Young People's Support Workers to directly support children of our service users, helping them re-establish healthy bonds with their mothers and overcome the trauma they may have experienced from being separated from their mothers. Support Workers also advocate and liaise with social services and family courts where appropriate, regarding child contact and custody.

Housing for Women was a pioneer of the original ReUnite initiative. In partnership with Commonweal, it was the first organisation in the UK to deliver services specifically for women leaving prison, to help them to access housing and regain custody of their children.

Commenting on the news, Zaiba Qureshi, Chief Executive of Housing for Women said: “We are incredibly happy to be continuing ReUnite’s vital programme of personalised holistic support to women ex-offenders and their children, empowering them to secure appropriate accommodation and begin rebuilding their lives together. The funding will directly support initiatives to address this unjust and underreported issue. Housing for Women’s mission is to empower women and challenge inequalities they face. We believe everyone has the right to safe, affordable housing regardless of circumstance. With the incredibly generous support of the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, the Coutts Foundation and Mary Kinross trust, we are one step closer to achieving this.”

James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery funding, this project will continue to develop its services which will support vulnerable women and children. ReUnite not only gives women the opportunity to build a new life for themselves but also their children - enabling them both to lead a better life together.”


Notes to Editors


For further information please contact Sarah Stone, Communications & Research Officer at Housing for Women via sarah.stone@h4w.co.uk / 020 3794 4786




  • Our previous project reoffending rate is less than 2% vs the national average of 51% re-offending within 12 months of release.
  • Around one-third of female prisoners lose their home whilst in prison (Source: Prison Reform Trust, 2010)
  • Each year around 17,700 children are separated from their mother by imprisonment (Source: Home Office)
  • 66% of women in prison are mothers with dependent children (Source: Ministry of Justice) 


About Housing for Women

Founded in 1934, Housing for Women is an independent housing association and a charity with a mission to empower women and challenge inequalities they face. We provide a unique blend of housing and support services for women and their families in London. We believe everyone has a right to safe, affordable housing regardless of circumstance.

We support women through providing affordable housing. Our supported housing projects and refuges help women and children escaping domestic abuse, survivors of trafficking and women leaving prison.

We own and manage over 920 homes across 10 London boroughs, offering social housing to women and their families nominated by the local authorities where we operate.




The Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £9 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.



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