In partnership with The National Lottery Community Fund, Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Government has announced the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund, a package of up to £30 million to create volunteering opportunities and increase connections across the country.
Volunteering helps to connect communities, helps people to develop their skills and grow their networks; and helps public services serve local communities and places more effectively. However, some of the most disadvantaged areas in England are missing out.
Cambridgeshire Community Foundation is delighted to be distributing grants made by the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund in Fenland, to support initiatives that can help to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness, helping participants improve their mental and physical wellbeing, develop new skills and form social connections.
Examples of where this funding has so far been allocated include:
- Rosmini Centre Wisbech received over £18,000 to provide a Lunch Club, Friendship Group and Conversational English Language Group to address food poverty, reduce social isolation and engage volunteers, particularly those from migrant communities.
- Read Easy Fenland received £3,500 to train 10 volunteer coaches to work 121 with adults who wish to learn to read or improve their reading skills.
- Cambridge Community Arts received over £18,000 to expand the Creative Fenland project, which engages socially isolated people through arts and crafts activities designed for mental wellbeing. It will involve initial outreach, development of a volunteer network, 3 creative courses and a workshop.
Little Miracles Fenland also received £4,600 to provide a half-term of workshops, activities and trips away for Fenland families that have children with additional needs, disabilities and life-limiting conditions. Activities offered during the February half term included screen printing, soft play and a visit from furry friends.
Minister for Civil Society and Youth, Stuart Andrew, said,
“During the Covid-19 pandemic we saw communities come together and volunteer to help one another in a time of need. We want to see this brilliant community spirit continue, which is why I’m delighted to be able to announce the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund to create meaningful and impactful volunteering opportunities. With rising living costs increasing the risk of isolation, it’s more important than ever that those at risk of loneliness feel supported, and this funding will be vital in helping people build personal connections and develop new skills.”
Michael O’Toole, CEO at Cambridgeshire Community Foundation said,
“I am delighted that Cambridgeshire Community Foundation is delivering the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund for Fenland. Fenland is an incredible part of our county with a strong community spirit and pride in its heritage. However, we also know that it is a region that faces some challenges and clear health inequalities, when compared to the rest of Cambridgeshire. The Know Your Neighbourhood Fund will support community projects which enable impactful volunteering and tackle loneliness. It is really exciting that the funding will help to develop our understanding of what works to improve wellbeing and build even stronger pride in these communities, through volunteering and community projects that build skills, wellbeing and community networks.”