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£2m funding to support communities re-imagine a future against backdrop of COVID-19

MORE than 50 community organisations across the UK have received a share of more than £2million in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to build on and amplify the creativity and compassion seen in communities and across civil society during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants will support organisations to work in partnership with local community groups to listen and share different experiences, narrate and tell their stories and to imagine, together, what is possible in the future.

The Emerging Futures Fund, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, has awarded grants of up to £50,000 to 51 organisations that will use ‘enquiries’ to invite new thinking and imagination, and support a place to experiment with community and people-led ideas.

The grant-holders include a diverse and varied range of organisations and partnerships, including BAME-led projects Voices from the Lockdown: the pandemic experiences of BME migrants in West London, delivered by the Midaye Somali Development Network and Days Ahead, delivered by the Sub-Saharan Advisory Panel. Disabled person-led project UnlockedLives delivered by Disability Wales (Anabledd Cymru), LGBTQ+-led project Emerging with Pride delivered by the Consortium of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Voluntary and Community Organisations, as well as local neighbourhood projects including Doorstep Revolution by Gentle Radical in Cardiff, have also received funding to support a place to experiment with community and people-led ideas.

Cassie Robinson, Senior Head of UK Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to communities across the UK and The National Lottery Community Fund has focused on getting much-needed emergency support out to communities and the sector. But it has also demonstrated the very best of civil society, which has met this huge challenge with creativity, commitment and a desire for change. We are now seeing new ways of doing things that we might not have thought of before.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, these new grants will support communities to consider how they can face the immediate impact of COVID-19 but also look to the future. The activity conducted by these community groups and organisations will generate learning and insights, and create space and capacity in communities so that they are able to anticipate, imagine and shape the future.”

£2m funding to support communities re-imagine a future against backdrop of COVID-19
The Social Enterprise Academy, Scotland

The funding, from the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will help harness the creativity of civil society and amplify the voices of communities through stories, narratives and public imagination projects. These projects will raise important questions and offer space for community-led experiments that point us towards the kinds of futures communities want to see. The projects will create ‘outputs’ including videos, toolkits, podcasts and online workshops that explore what or who needs to be centred differently; the new kinds of relationships that have formed through the crisis response; what we now know is essential; how to sustain community togetherness beyond the crisis; and where new kinds of infrastructure are being created.

Gateway Girls, Girlhood 2020

One organisation to receive funding is Gateway Girls in Leeds, with its project Girlhood 2020, Her Story. The project will use its grant of 49,500 to illustrate young women’s stories, including what they have discovered and appreciated during the pandemic and want to build on for their future. A group of women aged 16-25 will work together to plan, facilitate and shape the project throughout, with the project expected to create podcasts, online community events and an online exhibition reflecting their experience and visions for the future.

Shared Asset CIC, Voice of Our Land Renewed

Shared Assets CIC has received £47,450 in National Lottery funding to work in partnership with Land In Our Names (LION) and Cohere and support communities across England to develop and amplify stories of change from the pandemic, bringing to life a new narrative of how land ownership and stewardship can help us achieve an equitable social, environmental and economic recovery and renewal.

New Local Government Network, The Radical Way

The Radical Way, a partnership between Hilary Cottam and the New Local Government Network, will connect new community energy to local government leaders seeking to radically re-think welfare provision locally. The project will use its £50,000 grant exploring a devolved and participatory way of supporting those who are seeking to implement ‘Radical Help’, based on Hilary’s book. This project will enable them to design the ‘Radical Way’ through a rapid collaborative process.

Leisure and Learning (Hasting) Ltd, Hasting Future

Hastings Futures is a community-led enquiry project to prepare for a major, transformative town-wide engagement that will directly feed into Hastings town planning. Led by Leisure and Learning Ltd, in partnership with Hastings Commons, Isolation Station Hastings, the Common Treasury of Adaptable Ideas, HEART and other local community partners, the project will draw on the energy, relationships and infrastructure developed in the COVID-19 emergency to shape plans for renewal and recovery in the town.

Positive Carrickfergus, Talk of the Town

Talk of the Town will create a physical and online space in the town centre of Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland to bring together residents to explore and co-create the future of the town. The project will use futures methodologies to examine present and potential futures whilst building community relationships, and a shared, community-led vision for the long-term future of the town.

Gentle Radical, Doorstep Revolution

This project will focus on eight streets in the neighbourhood area of Riverside in Cardiff, where Gentle Radical will gather stories, narratives and perspectives about how residents experienced life during the first lockdown and prompting questions about their preferred futures. Both Talk of the Town and Gentle Radical are micro-local projects documenting stories across generations and cultures in a place, the outputs of which will then be used to influence the future of those communities going forward.

The Emerging Futures Fund is a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – supporting organisations and the voluntary sector to create opportunities to help local communities thrive.

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times. By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

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