The Circle Fund: Small sums making big change

The impact that small grant amounts can have on survivors of domestic abuse

In the summer of 2020, NatWest worked with SafeLives to donate £1 million to help victims and survivors of domestic and economic abuse, with a request for the charity to design a fund that, in a similar vein to the success of a scheme in Australia run by the National Australia Bank, would cut out the middleman and work simply, quickly and efficiently, recognising that many existing funding streams were limited and time-consuming to apply for.

Designed by services and survivors, the Circle Fund provides fast, flexible and impactful grants of up to £500 to answer individual needs, delivered via a network of frontline services. With services given autonomy to issue individual grants to survivors within 24-48 hours, the Circle Fund ensures domestic abuse survivors are supported in the right way, at the right time.

Made possible by our partnership with NatWest, in January 2024 the fund was renewed for a further three years with a £1m donation from NatWest.

This fund has made a significant contribution toward victims becoming survivors of abuse, ending the cycle of abuse, and becoming independent.

Feedback from frontline service

Since NatWest’s initial £1m donation in 2020, 137 frontline services across the UK have accessed the Circle Fund, directly supporting over 4,000 survivors of domestic abuse. This includes specialist services reaching some of the UK’s most marginalised groups including LGBTQ+, Deaf, African and Caribbean heritage, Muslim and Arabic speaking, and South Asian ​​​​communities. The fund’s impact is reflected in our SafeLives’ The Circle Fund 2022 mid project report, and our latest report; The Circle Fund 2020-2023: Small Sums Make Big Change.

For example, it has been used to provide secure locations and Ring doorbell systems. It has also provided essentials such as food and cots, winter shoes and bus fares. However, alongside emergency provisions, the fund is also focused on helping survivors rebuild their life and maintain a feeling of safety.  With services deciding how to utilise the funding based on need, grants can be issued to survivors by bank transfer, in cash, via vouchers or prepaid cash cards. Services can also directly purchase goods or services for the client. This freedom means clients can access the Circle Fund quickly and safely, regardless of whether they have access to a bank account or debit card, in a way which best meets their needs.


For more information on the fund and to apply contact

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Applications launch for The Circle Fund

NatWest's 'The Circle Fund' opens for frontline services helping domestic and economic abuse survivors. Apply now for crisis and recovery support funding.