About Us

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 info@purplehouse.co.uk

Posted by Lisa Hilder in About Us, News


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Our History

In December 1999 a group of women got together to put a bid forward for some funding for the women of Preston Road Estate. This project became known as WINNER which stands for: Women Improving Now Not Ever Retreating. The bid was successful and delivered evidence based research to prove the need for a women-only space on Preston Road.

Whilst the research was happening, women were invited to come along to drop-ins to socialise and make their views known. By January 2000, Women were accessing WINNER regularly and were asking for activities and courses.

Later on that year, Preston Road Neighbourhood Development Company came into being and received £55 million to regenerate the Preston Road area.

The research undertaken by Winner formed the basis of a successful bid to launch a women’s project for the estate and at this point the services began to take shape.

First to appear was a range of accredited courses for women, closely followed by a specialist domestic violence and abuse service, a specialist sexual health service and then an outreach support service, helping women isolated in their own homes.

The one room which originally housed these services soon became far too small and work began to identify suitable larger premises. Hull City Council kindly gifted two properties on the front of Preston Road which were remodeled and repainted in Women’s Suffrage colours (green, purple and white) to create Preston Road Women’s Centre, which opened in January 2002.

In February 2004, the centre became a company limited by guarantee and in November of the same year was registered as a charity.

As a successful independent offshoot of the Preston Road Regeneration programme, the organisation formed partnerships with other delivery organisations and funders to offer facilities and services according to local women’s expressed needs.

In the last ten years, many thousands of women have benefitted from the courses, services, support and safety offered by the women’s centre and have gone on to achieve great things. It is the determination and dedication of women in those early days, overcoming many barriers and obstacles, that has enabled local women to benefit for more than a decade.

Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre is led and owned by the women of Preston Road. It continues to go from strength to strength, despite the current challenging economic climate, as a result of the vision, compassion and commitment of all the women involved.

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If you would like to find out more about us you can access information on our page on the Charity Commission website here. You will be able to see our Annual Reviews and Annual Accounts as well as information on our compliance with regulation.

Over the years, we have also participated in a number of research projects, including those listed below

Breakthrough research – in conjunction with Hull University and  Hull Women’s Network Ltd

breakthrough logo

Pdf documents detailing the research can be downloaded from these links:

Breakthrough Research document 1

Breakthrough Research document 2

Breakthrough Research document 3

Breakthrough Research document 4

Breakthrough Research document 5

The aim of the ‘Breakthrough’ Research Project was to explore women’s life histories and experiences specifically in relation to education and employment trajectories throughout the Yorkshire and Humber Region. The project ran from April 2006 until December 2007 and was funded by the European Social Fund, The Learning and Skills Council and Hull Women’s Network.

Although it is generally acknowledged that women face barriers and challenges leading to inequalities at all levels in our society, the underlying causes of these are more difficult to agree upon. This research provides a qualitative focus on women’s voices and experiences, contributing to the future planning, policy and delivery of services for women in the region.

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Surviving and thriving in the Women’s sector

One of our Trustees, Lisa Hilder is undertaking some research into longer term funding mechanisms for ferminist women’s organisations in the voluntary and community sector.

Based on the work at Preston Road Women’s Centre over the last fifteen years and experience of generating income through grants, contracts and social investment, this research will focus on the opportunities and barriers for women’s organisations to become more financially resilient.

Many organisations are trapped in the hamster wheel of short term revenue funding through grants and contracts and beholden to commissioners and funders with differing levels of understanding in relation to women’s needs and the feminist agenda. Generating self finance means women’s organisations can maintain an independent voice and be responsive to emerging needs presented by women who walk through the door of local services.

A key part of the research will be to produce a toolkit for women’s organisations to use to start to generate their own funds – this toolkit will be available to any organisation taking part. The toolkit will be available early in 2019.

Click here to download an extract of the research proposal

The data collection phase of the  research has now finished and the interim findings are available to look at below in the research participants brochure and the presentations from the day. If you or your organisation are interested in finding out more, please e-mail us on info@purplehouse.co.uk

Research participants Brochure

Surviving and Thriving feedback

HWN Presentation – 16 Nov. 2018

Lately, as a result of the profile of this work, Lisa has been speaking with Big Society Capital about the women’s centre, and about a feminist approach to women’s services.

Have a look at the video interview here

Below you can see women from the organisations who took part in the Surviving and Thriving research coming together to hear about the findings and talk about working together to build financial resilience for women’s services.

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Quality through and through

At Winner we take the quality of our services and the way we operate very seriously. This quality has been recognised in many ways, some of which are below:

Leading Lights

SafeLives Leading Lights status is the mark of quality for domestic abuse services and is increasingly being recognised by commissioners and funders across the UK.

The Leading Lights accreditation programme offers services, partner agencies and commissioners a set of standards for supporting victims of domestic abuse. The programme was launched in 2009 and many services have been offered coaching, workshops and assessment since that time, with over 40 gaining accreditation.

Investors in People

Since 1991 Investors in People has set the standard for better people management. This internationally recognised accreditation is held by more than 15,000 organisations in 75 countries across the world. The Standard defines what it takes to lead, support and manage people well for sustainable results. Based on 25 years of leading practice, the Investors in People Standard is underpinned by a rigorous assessment methodology and a framework which reflects the very latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures required to outperform in any industry.

Investing in Children

At the women’s centre, we work with CHildren and Young People in an empowering way, promoting and respecting their rights and their dignity. As a result of this we have attained the Investing in Children quality mark which recognises services that value children and work to help them achieve their full potential

Investing in Volunteers

Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations which involve volunteers in their work

Over 800 organisations have achieved this quality accreditation throughout the UK, ranging from small community groups that are totally volunteer-led to large national multi branch charities that have thousands of volunteers.

This standard ensures that our volunteer management structure is adhering to good practice

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Charity Governance Award winners

Success at UK Charity Governance Awards 2017


On May 24th 2017 at a Gala reception at the beautiful Clothworkers House in central London, we were awarded a national charity governance award for “Embracing Opportunity and Harnessing Risk”, recognising the confident and robust approach taken by our Trustees in developing our portfolio of safe accommodation for women and children fleeing violence and abuse.

The award comes with the prize of a £5,000 unrestricted grant which will be used towards the construction of our new purpose-built women’s centre on Preston Road – the first of its kind in the UK for 20 years.

Councillor Mary Glew, who supported the Charity’s application said “ I am delighted that this innovative and forward thinking local charity has been recognised nationally – they are  great ambassadors for Hull”.

Watch our Winners video story here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f48nmhI8u-Q

WINNER was part of a shortlist of charities representing a diverse range of subject areas including LGBTQ, prisoners, homelessness, medical care and support, disability services, the arts, and more. A 20-strong judging panel shortlisted the entries and selected winners in each of seven categories. The winners were announced at the official awards reception in London on 24 May 2017, with former cabinet minister Sir Vince Cable delivering a keynote speech.

Michael Howell, Chair of the Trusteeship Committee at the award organisers The Clothworkers’ Company, said, “Congratulations to our outstanding winners – they provide the charity sector with sterling examples of what can be achieved with excellent governance.

“Highly-skilled trustees, diverse boards and their innovative use of digital technology are all areas that the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities has recommended as a focus for the sector. Therefore, we are delighted that our winners provide real-life examples of how that can be achieved. I encourage charities to download our free e-book which is full of inspiring stories from these superb shortlisted charities – including, of course, our winners! I hope this will provide inspiration for new journeys towards great governance.”

The free e-book is now available to download at www.charitygovernanceawards.co.uk.

The Charity Governance Awards are organised by The Clothworkers’ Company – a City Livery company that supports trusteeship initiatives – in partnership with not-for-profit consultancy NPC (New Philanthropy Capital), volunteer matching charity Reach, and recruitment specialists Prospectus.

For more details visit www.charitygovernanceawards.co.uk. You can follow the awards on Twitter using hashtag #charitygov17. Entry for the 2018 Charity Governance Awards will open in October 2017.

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National Charity Award Winners 2016

Our innovative Safe as Houses scheme has attracted national recognition and praise in the form of a National Charity Award for Grantmaking and Funding. These national prestigious awards showcase organisations demonstrating excellence in ten areas of operation and outstanding achievement in each of ten categories.

Alongside nine other category winners, the Overall Winner and the recipient of the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre, was presented with the award by Patti Boulaye at a star-studded black-tie ceremony at the Mermaid Theatre in London on Thursday 9 June, hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.

Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre, on winning the highly-coveted award.  She said:

“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre, should be very proud to have won their category. Their project was very effective.

“For 17 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities win awards.”

John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, overall partner of the Charity Awards, said:

“This year’s Charity Awards celebrate the inspiring people working in neighbourhoods and communities across the UK and overseas to make the world a better place.

“Celebrating these successes – as these awards have now been doing for 17 years – is an important part of maintaining and building Britain’s proud culture of civil action and generosity.

“The organisations which won awards and those who were shortlisted demonstrate a great sense of teamwork, collaboration and management excellence.

“It is humbling to see the amazing work being done by people who are changing lives in so many ways. Their stories are an inspiration, and my congratulations go out to them all.”

Ann Clarkson, Coordinator of Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre, said:

“We are extremely proud and delighted to have won this award. Our Safe As Houses scheme gives women in crisis practical help to support them to rebuild their lives.   This award is for them, for our housing team and for all our volunteers who make a difference every day to women and children in need. We will continue to build up our housing portfolio, and would be delighted to hear from any private landlords who would like to be part of the initiative.”

Lisa Hilder, Treasurer, Patti Boulaye, Entertainer and Ann Clarkson, Centre Co-ordinator

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Our Funders

Winner, the Preston Road Women’s Centre relies on the generous support of a variety of funders to continue to deliver our high quality services to women and children in Hull. We are proud to have the confidence of both local and national funders.

Some of the organisations that support us include:

Hull City Council

We hold a contract with Hull City Council who commission us to deliver support to women experiencing and escaping domestic violence and abuse. We have successfully held this contract since 2009

Children in Need


Children in Need funds one of our Nursery workers to work with children affected by domestic violence and abuse. It also funds our young women’s project, helping young women get involved in their community, learn new skills and confidence and aim high in life.

Comic Relief

Comic Relief funds three workers in our Domestic Abuse team who work with women struggling with substance misuse and addiction and women with no recourse to public funds who are also fleeing domestic Abuse

The Smallwood Trust

The Smallwood Trust helps to fund our training courses for women

The Coutts Foundation

The Coutts Foundation helps to fund the core running costs of our organisation and free up our time to help other women’s organisations elsewhere in the UK so we can extend the way we work and the benefit that comes from it.

Lloyds Foundation

The Lloyds Foundation is funding our Surviving and Thriving Network – our work to bring together women’s organisations who are using social investment and social enterprise methods of funding their work

The Nationwide Foundation

The Nationwide Foundation is helping to fund our housing service and in particular our social lettings agency, Safe as Houses where we work with private landlords to provide safe homes for women in need.

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC)

SASC have supported our property work with capital funding to expand our portfolio and create more safe homes for women and children fleeing violence and abuse

The Clothworkers Foundation

The Clothworkers Foundation funds us to work with women’s sector organisations across the UK to help them develop their own safe accommodation for women in need

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About Us

WINNER, the Preston Road Women’s Centre provides information, support and advice to women in Hull. It is a multi-purpose organization run by women for women offering a wide range of services under one roof.

Women can drop into WINNER anytime between 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday to access any of our services or to meet other women in a safe environment.

We are situated in the big Purple House on Preston Road.

We offer the following services and activities:

  • Drop in for relaxation and informal support
  • Specialist domestic violence support and advocacy
  • Legal advice and representation through our Family Law firm, Affordable Justice
  • Safe, affordable housing across the city
  • Accredited training in a variety of subjects
  • Registered Nursery provision for 0-5 year olds
  • Comprehensive volunteering programme aimed at improving quality of life and job opportunities
  • Girlz Only Young Women’s Project 10-18 year olds
  • Rainbows Charity shop offering affordable, quality second hand goods
  • Crafts group 

If you have any questions, give us a ring on 01482 790310

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