THE National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, is pleased to announce that from 28th June, grassroots charities and community groups tackling loneliness in England will be able to apply for a share of £2 million of National Lottery funding to support their work.
The funding is made available through the second round of the Local Connections Fund, a joint £4 million funding programme from the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund. The fund was set up to give small community groups with an income of less than £50,000 the support needed to tackle loneliness and isolation by helping people feel more connected.
The first round of Local Connections funding, a £2 million investment from DCMS, which opened in January, reached more than 850 community groups across England, with a focus on keeping people connected remotely while lockdown restrictions were in place.
The second round of funding will be used to fund hundreds of microgrants between £300 – £2,500. These will enable local activities to become more accessible and reach people who may be less likely to attend traditional clubs and societies. The funding will focus on supporting community projects to bring people together – where possible and safe to do so – in face to face settings.
Loneliness is a big concern. According to The National Lottery Community Fund’s most recent Community Research Index (a survey of more than 7,000 people across the UK), almost half of respondents (47%) say that tackling loneliness and isolation is an important priority for the year ahead. At the same time, recent research reveals that the number of people in the UK feeling “often” or “always” lonely has jumped by more than a million since last year – from 2.6 million to 3.7 million.
Through this programme and other partnerships such as The Building Connections Fund, DCMS, and The National Lottery Community Fund are working together to help prevent loneliness, strengthen our communities, and improve people’s lives.
Blondel Cluff CBE, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“Loneliness affects people of all ages and from all walks of life, and we know that, because of the pandemic, many people are experiencing isolation for the very first time. The first round of Local Connections funding demonstrated the huge impact that small grants can have when tackling loneliness at a local level, empowering organisations to make a change in their communities.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are now able to award £2 million to support hundreds of other organisations and communities across the country, and we are proud to be working alongside Government to encourage people to tackle loneliness and build social connections.”
Minister for Loneliness, Baroness Barran, said:
“As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, it’s critical to remember that for many people, loneliness will not simply go away, which is why the government is committed to continuing to tackle loneliness.
“Following the first round of the Local Connections Fund, I was delighted to see some of the inspiring ways organisations brought people together in local communities, enabling them to make connections whilst doing things they enjoy.
“I look forward to seeing how the second round of funding enables more local organisations to tackle loneliness in communities across the country as we continue to work towards our goal of ending the loneliness that has blighted so many lives.”
Any community groups and charities that received a Local Connections Fund grant during the first round of funding will not be eligible to apply for funding during the second round of applications. For more information on the Local Connections Fund, including eligibility, how to apply and key dates, please visit the Local Connections Fund webpage at www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/local-connections-fund.
Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for the UK’s good causes, and £41 billion has been distributed to 565,000 good causes across the UK since 1994.