Sector Conversations

Sector Conversations are new to the 2017-2021 funding round of Ascent. Sector Conversations aims to help highlight issues facing the sector as well as demonstrating some of the amazing work being done as part of Ascent.

Sector Conversation with Vivienne Hayes from Women’s Resource Centre about CEDAW

In this Sector Conversation, we met Vivienne Hayes, CEO of Women’s Resource Centre. Vivienne talks about CEDAW – the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women – and why it’s one of the most important tools to achieve real equality for women and girls. Find out more about CEDAW, including the CEDAW Shadow Reports here.

Sector Conversation with Dionne Nelson from Women’s Resource Centre about Theory of Change

In this Sector Conversation, we met Dionne Nelson, Deputy CEO of Women’s Resource Centre. Dionne talks about the Theory of Change “Transforming our Lives” – about the process of making it happen and how it can be used. More information about Transforming our Lives can be found here.

Sector Conversation with Karen Lingwood and Lucy Allwright from AVA (Against Violence and Abuse)

In this Sector Conversation, we’re meeting Karen and Lucy from AVA – one of the Ascent Support Services to Organisations partners. Karen and Lucy are discussing the relationship and collaborations between local authorities and the women sector. Read more about AVA’s work here.

Sector Conversation with Fiona Dwyer (Haringey Council)

This month we interviewed Fiona Dwyer, Strategic Lead for Violence Against Women and Girls at Haringey Council, about the benefits for local authorities of engaging with Ascent and the importance of local authorities building strong relationships with voluntary and community sector organisations tackling VAWG. Read more about Haringey’s work here.

Sector Conversation with Dr. Akima Thomas (Women and Girls Network)

This month we interview Akima Thomas, Clinical Director of Women and Girls Network (WGN), about their work to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) using a feminist-trauma informed approach. You can find out more about their work and services here.


Sector Conversation with Vivienne Hayes (WRC)

For our May Sector Conversation we spoke to Vivienne Hayes, the CEO of the Women’s Resource Centre, about the Domestic Abuse Bill. Vivienne highlights key issues with the proposed Bill, including its narrow focus on domestic violence and abuse, rather than wider forms of sexual violence.


Sector Conversation with Dr Louise Harvey-Golding

For our April Sector Conversation, we spoke to Dr Louise Harvey-Golding who has produced a needs assessment for Ascent’s second tier support services to organisations. The report examines the need for specialist support services for organisations, the value specialist support services bring to organisations, and the how Ascent’s specialist support services can develop in the future. The report will be published shortly – keep an eye on WRC’s website ( for updates.


Sector Conversation with Sara Kirkpatrick (Respect)

This month we interviewed Sara Kirkpatrick, Services and Development Manager at Respect about Respect’s services and role in two strands of the Ascent project – Domestic and Sexual Violence Helplines and Support Services to Organisations. Read more about Respect and their work on their website.


Sector Conversation with Jane Tanner (WRC)

This month we interviewed WRC’s Policy Engagement Officer, Jane Tanner, about The Way Ahead and the women’s sector’s perspective on re-visioning civil society in London. Read more about The Way Ahead at


Sector Conversation with Estelle du Boulay (Rights of Women)

This month, we met with Rights of Women Director Estelle du Boulay. Estelle talks about Rights of Women, what they do and how they are involved in the Ascent project. She also explains the Equality Act 2010 and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the way they relate to and complement each other.


Sector Conversation with Dorett Jones & Rahni Binjie (Imkaan)

In this sector conversation, Dorett Jones and Rahni Binjie from Imkaan talk about the Women’s Health and Equalities Consortium Report ‘Taking a Forward View on women and Mental Health: Key Messages for Government’

Check out the full report here –

An introduction to Sector Conversations with Vivienne Hayes (WRC)


This the first Sector Conversations for the funding of Ascent for 2017-2021.

WRC CEO Vivienne Hayes, introduces these sector conversations by discussing what ‘by and for’ means.