£12 million National Lottery cash injection to support communities to come together across the UK, as new report shows value of community

The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK, has awarded a vital £12 million cash injection to support communities to come together across the UK.

Communities from Glasgow to Kent will benefit from the first nine projects to be awarded through The UK Fund – one of the funder’s bold commitments as part of its new strategy, It starts with community, to tackle some of the big social issues facing UK communities.

The announcement comes as The National Lottery Community Fund launches a new report, revealing findings from its latest Community Research Index, which show how important it is to people to feel part of their community and having the opportunity to improve their community for the future.

The survey of over 8,000 UK adults is designed to find out people’s priorities and aspirations for their local community. The findings show:

  • Seven in ten (72%) say it’s important to them to feel part of their local community
  • People who feel part of their community say the benefits of this include: having an opportunity to meet people (45%), improving their wellbeing (43%), having a greater sense of pride (40%), and having a positive impact on their local area (36%)
  • Half (51%) say having activities that bring people together is in their top five local community priorities
  • Nearly two-thirds are willing to work with others to improve their local community (64%), and think that people in their area can make a real change by getting involved (63%)
  • But only around half feel they have the opportunity (52%) or ability to play a role (46%).

The UK Fund, launched last year, prioritises these community ambitions, supporting organisations that bring people with different life experiences together, form connections that create healthier lives, and provide opportunities for people to play a part in shaping their community’s future.

The nine projects to receive a share of the £12 million funding pot and make these ideas a reality are:

  • London-based Community Leisure UK has received over £650,000 to work with leisure and culture trusts across England, Scotland, and Wales. The project will focus on widening the diversity and access to volunteering opportunities in the leisure and cultural sector to ensure it is more inclusive and represents the communities it serves.
  • Working across the UK, Right to Succeed has received £700,000 to provide communities with the know-how and ability to transform its communities into thriving places. The project seeks to empower communities to tackle social and economic injustice to create sustainable, systemic change in local areas. This project will be led by the Place Matters team who are currently incubated within Right to Succeed.
  • The Linking Network, based in Bradford, has received almost £800,000 working across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to expand its Schools Linking model. This project will carefully match classes of young people from demographically varied schools to connect with people who are different to them. Of the schools it currently works with 24% are within the most deprived areas of the UK [2].
  • Working across the UK, The Involve Foundation has received over £830,000 to train and support 100 local people to become ‘community champions’. The project, in partnership with Act Build Change, will recruit champions from local communities across the UK, reflecting the diverse population and focusing on those from under-represented groups. Champions will gain tools, skills, and support in developing campaigns that address an issue in their local area, putting communities at the centre of local decision-making.
  • Based in Manchester, Roots, has been awarded almost £965,000 to scale its work across England, Scotland, and Wales. Using an equity-based approach, the project will support people from different backgrounds to connect, explore differences and find areas of common ground. Its work aims to create change by investing in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage, and discrimination.
  • Groundswell CWDU has been awarded almost £1.4 million for a Community Connectors project that will work with communities in England and Scotland to address local issues. Community Connectors will support communities at risk of social isolation, amplify the positive work of grassroots organisations, and encourage connections between people, local groups, and statutory bodies.
  • Luton Borough Council’s Social Justice Unit has been awarded almost £1.9 million to work with The Young Foundation, University of Bedfordshire and Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation to collaboratively overcome social, economic, and environmental challenges facing people in Luton. The town falls into the top 30% most in need communities for deprivation and cost-of-living vulnerability [3]. This local project has an equity-based approach with the potential to share valuable learning more widely across the UK.
  • Locality UK has been awarded almost £1.9 million to work with membership networks for community organisations across the UK. The funding will help grow its infrastructure and capacity to support nearly 2,500 members across local community organisations. The project will work in some of the most deprived areas of the UK, with over half of the organisations working with communities experiencing racial inequity.
  • Based in Ladywood, Birmingham, Civic Square has been awarded almost £3 million to continue work on developing a new neighbourhood-scale civic infrastructure that focuses on social, economic and climate transition. Local people will be empowered to transform their lives as part of the diverse community they live in, bridging differences with empathy and care.

David Knott, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We are committed to distributing at least £4 billion in National Lottery funding to UK communities by 2030 and using it to strengthen society and improve lives. Supporting people to come together is key to this. Feeling part of a community is a powerful thing and it’s great to see that reflected in both our report and the grants we’ve announced today. Now, thanks to National Lottery players and our UK Fund, people will have even more opportunities to connect with others, enjoy the benefits of being part of a community and create transformational change.”

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, last year The National Lottery Community Fund was able to distribute over half a billion pounds (£615.4 million) of life-changing funding to communities.

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

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