Lisa Hilder

20 years and £20million for women in Hull

Staff and volunteers from the Preston Road Women’s Centre in Hull – also known locally as the Purple House and Winner – are today celebrating 20 years of offering services to women and children across Hull along with the incredible cumulative fundraising total of more than £20million brought into the city and into women’s services since it opened.

The first purpose-built women’s centre in the UK, the Purple House was opened in October 2018 with a design which enhances the organisation’s ability to support women effectively and grow services according to women’s needs

The building has a low environmental impact to minimise ongoing running costs and many different types of spaces to be able to support the different services available and operating from the premises.

This pioneering design and build is just one of the achievements of the organisation over the last twenty years – achievements which have included:

  • Establishing itself as a multi-purpose anchor organisation for the community on Preston Road
  • Working with the Local Authority to bring 56 Empty Homes back into use
  • Establishing a not for profit family law firm, Affordable Justice, in 2016, the first of its kind in the country
  • Offering more than 200 safe homes for women and children across the city
  • Offering the Safe as Houses scheme for private landlords to invest ethically and offer their properties for use by the women’s centre
  • Developing plans for new-build properties to house vulnerable women
  • Winning a range of national awards for the quality and innovation of its services
  • Developing innovative social investment products in partnership with Big Society Capital and Social and Sustainable Capital
  • Supporting Women’s Sector organisations all over the UK to develop their own services and sustainable ways of operating
  • Bringing more than £20million of external investment into the city to deliver services, create jobs and contribute to the economic wellbeing of Hull

Preston Road Women’s Centre plans to go from strength to strength in the coming years – continuing to expand its reach, its services and its staff numbers to promote opportunities for women locally and nationally and support them to change their lives for the better.

Posted by Lisa Hilder in News

Winner teams up with social investors to offer grants and access to investment opportunities

We have been working with Big Society Capital and a range of grant funders, including most recently the Clothworkers Foundation, the John Laing Trust and the Mercers  to support women’s sector organisations across the UK to become more financially and operationally sustainable.

If you are interested in a grant to help you explore or implement the establishment of a property portfolio housing vulnerable women and children including those fleeing violence and abuse, then this grant fund could be for you

Based on our successful model of dispersed accommodation across Hull and research undertaken in 2018 by Big Society Capital, an investment fund of more than £30million has been created to purchase properties in communities across the country which will be leased to feminist women’s sector organisations to support them in their work helping women and children recover from the trauma of violence and abuse.

We also work with Social and Sustainable Capital to support organisations to access their SASH Fund which offers up to £125million to help organisations purchase properties to offer supported accommodation to vulnerable client groups.

Alongside this investment fund, a range of grant funders has provided grant monies, managed by Winner, to support the local organisations to explore the feasibility of managing their own leased or purchased properties and help them to implement their schemes – this grant can fund consultancy support from Winner and “on the ground” capacity for WSOs to take forward their plans.

Our grants panel has adopted a feminist funding approach guided by a set of principles aimed at promoting a gendered approach to grant making. The panel comprises members from Big Society Capital, The Clothworkers Foundation, The Social Investment Consultancy, Winner and the Women’s Aid Federation as well as an independent member with experience in grant making

This innovative approach is trialling gender-lens investing in the social investment world and aims to get much needed resource to grass roots organisations relying on traditional grants and contracts and enable them to move towards a more sustainable operational and financial position

The grant has been operating for two years now and has helped 13 women’s sector organisations to explore the implications of using social investment to grow their property portfolios with  6 of those decifing to pursue leasing or purchasing of their own properties

Typical grant size is £30 000 to £40 000 in two stages,  firstly to assess feasibility and secondly to pay for capacity to make the plans operational

If you would like to know more, please e-mail

Posted by Lisa Hilder in About Us, News

Our response to Covid 19

In light of the current Covid-19 advice from the Government Purplehouse will continue to provide services, however most of this will be done over the phone. Please contact us on 01482 790310 we will take some details and may have to ring you back. If you have a support worker here please ring them on the mobile number they have provided to you. Alternately please use this link to use our automated contact service.

Posted by Lisa Hilder in News

Our national work


We have been working recently with Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) and Big Society Capital to develop new ways of funding housing work for women fleeing violence and abuse

We co-produced a new loan finance product with SASC which helped us to draw down £2 million to buy 33 properties across the city of Hull which provide new homes for women rebuilding their lives after the trauma of violence and abuse. This product has been so successful that it has been taken up by other organisations around the country to help them in their work to provide housing for many different client groups.

You can read more about SASC’s work here

As well as developing new products with SASC, we have been working with Big Society Capital (a national provider of social investment funds) to advise on the development of their new Vulnerable Women’s Housing Fund, due to be launched later in 2019

Below is a video clip of our Treasurer Lisa Hilder, explaining a bit more about the women’s centre’s work and how we are contributing to addressing gender disadvantage locally and nationally

Posted by Lisa Hilder in News