9th March 2023
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.
Cumbria Community Foundation is delighted to be distributing over £1 million of the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund over the next two years to support initiatives in Barrow that can help to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness, help participants improve their mental and physical wellbeing, develop new skills and form social connections.
Eight projects have already received a share of £135,000 supporting initiatives such as telephone befriending to providing activities for socially isolated fathers. Funding has been awarded to those who do not usually have access to volunteering opportunities.
The Well Communities received £47,663 to develop a trauma informed volunteer training programme. Ged Pickersgill, Senior Development Manager, said: “We are reactive to the changing needs of the community and this funding will drive social activism and behavioural health change activity in Barrow with a professional and robust approach to volunteer engagement and development. 90% of our staff in Barrow started their journey as volunteers.
“The ‘Grow Your Own’ model will be developed and formalised by a number of national key strategists and scholars which will create a localised blueprint for lived experience volunteer recruitment, engagement and supervision.”
Love Barrow Families received £17,673 to encourage more fathers in the area to join its Community Dads’ Group. Volunteer, Penny Forrest, said: “The existing group members feel that the camaraderie and sense of belonging they have found since joining has improved their wellbeing and enjoyment of life, and they feel more confident and purposeful. This grant will enable us to publicise and grow the group, and we are excited about being able to involve more dads and extend the range of activities we can offer. Up until now the group has been limited as it operated on a shoestring budget, and we are so grateful that we can now obtain the resources and equipment we need to be able to develop and take the group to the next level.”
A Stitch Different CIC provides meaningful activities and real-life work experience for people living with disabilities. A grant of £3,788 allowed the social enterprise to run a ten-week pilot to work with older adults who have anxiety or other mental health issues, and to encourage parent carers to volunteer and reduce the feelings of isolation, while learning new skills.
Amanda Bland, Founder, said: “The project is proving a big success especially with carers and individuals struggling with anxiety. Those attending are saying how they are loving trying new things, meeting new people, accessing support, gaining confidence to be more involved in the community and not feeling so lonely or isolated.”
The College House Community Hub, run by Groundwork NE & Cumbria, received £22,453 to expand the services on offer. Victoria Myers, Project Manager, said: “The funding will allow us to extend the range of activities and services provided by both Groundwork and local organisations to the residents of Hindpool. The aim is to reduce loneliness and social isolation, improve health and wellbeing, skills and confidence, and help the residents to feel more socially connected within the community.”
Grants were also awarded to Age UK Barrow, Barrow and District Disability Association, Barrow Forward, Cumbria Addictions, Advice and Solutions (CADAS) and Groundwork North East and Cumbria.
The second round of funding will re-open for applications in April.
Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support meaningful and impactful activities in Barrow that encourage volunteering and tackle chronic loneliness. Our first round of grants from the DCMS Know Your Neighbourhood Fund have supported a diverse range of activities tackling social isolation and improving wellbeing through the power of volunteering. We welcome applications from organisations in Barrow for the next round in April.”