A new report published this week shows how National Lottery funding is transforming the way people in the UK feel about their local area, boosting their sense of pride and belonging and supporting the development of thriving neighbourhoods.
The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activities in the UK, has invested over £3.4 billion (72,000 grants) into communities over the past five years, supporting at least one project in nearly every local neighbourhood. The report, ‘From neighbours to neighbourhood: learning on how to boost pride in place’ looks at the impact of this funding and how it has contributed to a better understanding of how to nurture and harness local pride and belonging.
As communities face new challenges, such as the rising cost of living and building back from the COVID-19 pandemic, the factors that contribute to local pride are becoming increasingly important.
The report explores eight ways people can boost pride in place in their area, and each section includes tips and insights from National Lottery-funded organisations. Some of the ideas include empowering people to design and shape where they live, making the local environment feel safe and look attractive, and the importance of supporting community venues to thrive.
It highlights that The National Lottery Community Fund’s grants contribute to community benefits that boost local pride, including offering more opportunities for people to engage in their community (60%), take part in events and activities (56%), and feel an increased sense of belonging (42%). Meanwhile, two-thirds (66%) of its grant holders provide opportunities for people to mix with others who are different to them, and those grants are more likely than average to increase social contact, improve mental health, boost self-esteem, and reduce loneliness.
The report was launched by the Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, David Knott, during a visit to Upper Norwood Library Hub in South London, which has successfully increased belonging in its neighbourhood and is one of the community groups featured in the report.
With support from Power to Change and thanks to over £132,000 in National Lottery funding, the local community formed a trust and took on the running of Upper Norwood Library Hub six years ago. It now welcomes 13,000 people through its doors every month who take part in a range of activities including arts festivals, parent and child sessions, and digital inclusion classes.
As well as Upper Norwood Library Hub, the report features a range of community projects across the UK, such as Middlesbrough Environment City, which provided training to local people to transform the back alleys of Middlesbrough’s Victorian housing blocks into vibrant community spaces that people felt proud of, and Fun Palaces, which sees communities across the UK come together to plan and participate in cultural activities during an annual weekend in October.
These events happen in community spaces, from high streets to beaches and churches to pubs, helping to open them up to people from all backgrounds, to create a feeling of togetherness.
David Knott, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“This report tells an important story about the value of places, spaces and enriching activities that bring people together, and the impact these can have on feeling connected to your local community and proud of where you live.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, over £30 million is raised for good causes every week, and our new report highlights great examples of how this money can help communities to prosper and thrive. My visit to Upper Norwood Library Hub really brought this to life and, as part of this report, will go on to inspire and provide insight to other community groups, authorities and people who want to increase pride in their local areas too.”
Jenny Irish, Director of Upper Norwood Library Trust, said:
“Community is at the heart of what we do, so we’re proud to be recognised by The National Lottery Community Fund as a catalyst for boosting local pride. Thanks to the contribution of organisations such as Power to Change, and National Lottery players, our community asset has continued to grow, and today is a place where people can borrow books, learn new skills, access art and performance, seek advice on cutting energy costs and improve their health and wellbeing.”
The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK. Over eight in ten (83%) of its grants are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities. To find out more, please visit: www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk.