The theme for this years International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias, asking everyone to imagine a gender equal world which is free of biases, stereotypes and discrimination against women. The Foundation would like to spotlight the organisation Women Acting in Today’s Society [WAITS]. 

Last week the Foundation’s CEO Tina Costello, and Wesleyan’s CEO Mario Mazzocchi, visited WAITS to hear about the impact their organisation has had on women dealing with domestic violence across Birmingham. After being awarded £10,000 in September 2021 from the Wesleyan Foundation, managed by Heart of England Community Foundation, the grant funded the salary of a part-time Domestic Violence Support Worker for 12 months on the Iona Resilience and Resettlement project.

The project assists women to build domestic abuse resilience, overcome practical daily challenges, and recover from emotional trauma imposed by their abuser. During the COVID-19 pandemic WAITS experienced a 208% increase in call volumes from vulnerable women who were trapped at home with their abuser during lockdown.

Marcia Lewinson, CEO at WAITS, said:

“WAITS Trustees, staff, clients and volunteers were delighted to meet Tina and Mario when they visited us. It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to meet the funders funder!


“Our clients shared their journey through WAITS Domestic Abuse and Refuge Services – there was not a dry eye in the room. A client said WAITS had transformed her life. When you feel you can’t go any further, your support worker calls you and tells you, you can do it! To me this is the essence of WAITS.


“We are so pleased we were able to demonstrate how important the funding from HoECF and Wesleyan is to us, enabling WAITS to break the bias of discrimination and stereotypes that keep women trapped in abusive relationships.”


A client shared:

“My abusive relationship with my ex-husband was just like my house was on fire. I didn’t know there was a door or window I could use to escape. I was too broken to stand up and run.  WAITS’ support has made me confident enough to take steps to help myself. I feel empowered.  I feel cared for and respected. I can’t thank WAITS enough.”

Tina Costello, CEO at the Foundation, said:

“The minute I walked through the doors of WAITS I could feel the positive energy from both the staff team and the women they support.  As a survivor of domestic abuse I understand how difficult it can be to get your life back on track, but with organisations like WAITS there to offer support and encouragement, we were honoured to meet women who have overcome the toughest challenges and are now starting brilliant new chapters in their lives.


“There is a part to play for everyone to end violence towards women and girls and every voice deserves to be heard.


“I feel so proud, that through the Wesleyan Foundation,  we have been able to support their life-saving work.”

Find out more about International Women’s Day 2022: