More than £65 million of vital National Lottery funding has gone to communities in England over the last three months as local grassroots projects continue to provide valuable support to people across the country.
This substantial investment, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has been awarded to almost 2,000 community groups and projects across the country, enabling them to bring people together and provide the tools and support they need to better prosper and thrive.
Grants awarded range from £500 up to £1.7million and have been made in direct response to community needs, including tackling social isolation, offering valuable provision for children throughout the school holidays, providing inclusive activities for people with disabilities, and improving employability opportunities.
Projects funded here include animal therapy sessions for people living with learning disabilities in Newcastle, an inclusive choir in Sheffield for asylum-seekers and refugees, a dog training scheme for disabled personnel of the Armed Forces in East Hampshire, and a Bolton-based group who are using computer games to help children with autism communicate.
Emma Corrigan, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“We’re proud to be able to continue our support for charities and community groups across England over the summer, delivering valuable funding to almost 2,000 life-changing projects, all thanks to National Lottery players. Combined, the £65 million will make a huge difference to the lives of many; building skills, building connections, and helping communities to prosper and thrive.”
Examples of projects funded in the last three months:
One of the groups to receive funding is Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle upon Tyne, which is using almost £120,000 to help more people living with learning disabilities and autism benefit from animal therapy and daily farming life. The funding aims to help grow and improve its Care Farming programme, which has become a vital service for people right across the North East since it was launched in 2011. The programme includes a 39-week work placement at the bustling farm and visitor centre that promotes wellbeing and independence through a wide range of activities, including horticulture, cookery, arts and crafts, customer service, as well as animal care.
Stef Anderson, Partnerships Officer at Ouseburn Farm, said:
“A person with learning disabilities is seven times more likely to experience loneliness compared to the national average, which in turn increases their risk of anxiety and depression. We believe that through interacting with and taking care of animals, engaging with nature and building connections with their local community, they can overcome feelings of loneliness and achieve sustained improvements in their wellbeing and independence.”
The Sheffield One World Choir is using their £8,000 funding to continue their community choir for asylum-seekers and refugees. The funding will help with costs such as bus fare for members to attend rehearsals, which otherwise they could not afford to do, and cover childcare costs for those who are taking part in the choir’s concerts. The grant will also allow the team to expand their offering by buying a new piano and holding songwriting and singing workshops, run by music specialists.
Stephen Hawley, one of the organisers at Sheffield One World Choir, said:
“This grant has been a lifeline for our mixed refugee, asylum seeker choir, without which we would not have been able to continue for the forthcoming year. Thanks to National Lottery players, the vibrant Sheffield One World choir will be singing at numerous concerts in the coming months ahead, bringing people together to enjoy the joy of the choir.”
Hounds for Heroes in East Hampshire has received £10,000 in National Lottery funding to support the group with their assistance dog training scheme for disabled personnel of the Armed Forces and Emergency Services. The project aims to improve quality of life, mental well-being, and independence.
Debbie Pick, Hounds for Heroes said:
“Our fully trained assistance dogs become a lifeline for personnel of the UK Armed Forces and Emergency Services who are battling with disability, bereavement, conflict and trauma on a daily basis. Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support our beneficiaries in overcoming physical barriers and obstacles, promoting an increased sense of freedom by providing a loyal comrade and in many cases, the beginning of a new life. Together we can.”
Bolton-based charity, Think Cre8tive CIC has received almost £10,000 in funding to develop an online gaming and creative play server for young people with autism and similar conditions. The project aims to provide a safe space where the community can develop their social skills, confidence and coping mechanisms.
Melanie Cossins, Artistic Director of Think Cre8tive CIC, said:
“As a mum of two autistic/PDA children, I noticed the effect the pandemic was having on their mental health and in particular their sudden lack of social interaction. Minecraft is a special interest for both, so together with my teenage daughter, we decided to create a Minecraft server for children to form new friendships.
“With the National Lottery Funding, we are now able to explore new events on our server so we can include more of what children want and when they want it. The pandemic has seen a rise in anxiety levels in children and thanks to National Lottery players we can continue giving them skills to enable them to feel valued, safe and confident in the world.”
National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week across the UK for good causes. The National Lottery Community Fund as a distributor ensures a share of this funding goes straight to communities, helping them to tackle important issues such as supporting young people in employment, mental health and climate action.
To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk.