£1m-Plus Funding Boost To Help UK Charities Transform Lives

UK charity projects to tackle food poverty, break down barriers for people with physical and learning disabilities, support better mental health and help people into jobs and training will be able to reach more people than ever before thanks to a funding boost of more than £1 million from the ScottishPower Foundation.

A total of 19 of the UK’s most inspiring and innovative charities have been awarded £1.1 million from the Foundation’s 2022 funding allocation to drive positive change across England, Scotland and Wales and give people and communities the chance to reach their full potential.

An ambitious project to tackle food poverty in a Glasgow high-rise estate will help disadvantaged people and families access affordable, healthy and nutritious food. The Linkes Community Food Project at the Lincoln Avenue estate in Knightswood will establish a dedicated Community Food Hub for local people.

During the pandemic, the charity piloted a weekly Community Food Hub, providing grocery packs in response to an increase in food poverty and delivering more than 18,000 meals to older people and 2,000 grocery packs to families. The ScottishPower Foundation funding will help create a permanent base for the Hub, establish a food activity and distribution programme – including cooking sessions, home-growing and meal kits – as well as help people access wider support services.

Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “The Community Food Project is a terrific example of the difference our funding can make and will be life-changing for all those who benefit, relieving a huge amount of pressure for anyone worrying about where the next meal is coming from. Linkes is a real driving force in the local community and will deliver the project in conjunction with local people to ensure it helps those who need it most. We’re proud to play a part in making that happen.”

Niki Logan, Senior Community Development Worker at The Linkes Community Food Project said: “We are so pleased with the support from ScottishPower Foundation. This funding will allow us to progress a new venue on the estate to distribute good food in a fair and more sustainable way. The launch of this project will make a huge difference to our local community, many of whom have been faced with food poverty as a result of the increase in cost of living. This initiative will provide local residents with the increased food security they need and deserve. We will also be working with local people to design and plant a small food forest and look forward to that bearing fruit for years to come”.

Other 2022 funded projects include the Lorna Young Foundation, which is investing in its ‘Freeing Up Ethical Enterprise Training’ project to create free ethical entrepreneur training resources. It will pilot the programme with young people in Greater Manchester not in education, employment or training – giving them the opportunity to create their own social enterprises, learn business skills and earn money for a good cause.

Headway Swindon’s ‘One Step at a Time out of Mental Health’ will help show the charity’s clients – who often struggle with mental health and wellbeing following brain injury – that there is a way to recover through bespoke brain injury therapy to improve outcomes and reduce isolation and negative thoughts.

Elsewhere, Whizz-Kidz ‘Wheeling for Independence’ projects will train 40 new practitioners across Wales and Scotland to help young wheelchairs use their wheelchairs more independently, while Cutting Edge Theatre’s ‘INSPIRE Disability Arts’ project will help establish equal access to the performing arts for those who have learning disabilities.

To help improve open spaces and the environment, Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Ocean Recovery Project’ will prevent dumping of redundant or ‘ghost’ fishing nets at sea, which are damaging to marine ecosystems, habitats and native species. The Green Team in Edinburgh and the Lothians will grow its ‘Green Shoots’ project, which provides opportunities for disadvantaged young people to engage with nature.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “We are delighted that the ScottishPower Foundation is supporting our ground-breaking Ocean Recovery Project. We have all seen the damage plastic does once it gets in our seas. This grant will allow us to work with more fishing harbours across the UK to recycle used fishing nets as well as supporting beach clean groups in the recycling of nets. The recovered plastic will be turned into something useful instead of ending up in landfill or becoming part of the toxic plastic soup that does so much damage to our marine environment and ourselves.”

Melanie added: “The wide variety of projects we’re able to support this year allows us to make a lasting impact on all aspects of people’s lives and crucially – in the current climate – helps charities continue the incredible work they do every day to help those who don’t have the same opportunities as others. It’s a privilege to support them and I can’t wait to see the changes this year’s projects will make for people and places across the UK.”

The ScottishPower Foundation’s 2022 funding investment sees the charity hit the milestone of £10 million in funding grants it’s given out since it was established in 2013.

Throughout the years, the Foundation has supported and championed projects across Britain which help advance education, environmental protection, the arts, culture, science and provide relief for those in need through poverty, disability or disadvantage.

It’s planning a series of activities to celebrate the landmark funding figure throughout 2022.

The full list of the 2022 ScottishPower Foundation funded projects are:

  • Linkes – ‘Linkes Community Food Project’ will empower people on the Lincoln Avenue estate in Glasgow to have a voice and develop local solutions to poverty. The charity will build on its Food Hub pilot to create a dedicated Community Food Hub on the high-rise estate, providing disadvantaged communities access to healthy and nutritious food.
  • The Lorna Young Foundation – ‘Freeing Up Ethical Enterprise Training’ will create free-to-all access of its Ethical Entrepreneurs (‘Not Just Us’) training resources, which will be piloted by young people not in education, employment or training in Greater Manchester. The resources will give young people the opportunity to create their own social enterprises, learn business skills and earn some money for a cause. This will improve economic and employment chances and foster local, ethical and environmental responsibility.
  • Headway Swindon – ‘One Step at a Time out of Mental Health’ will help show Headway’s clients – who often struggle with mental health and well-being following brain injury – that there is a way to recover through bespoke brain injury therapy to improve outcomes, reduce isolation and negative thoughts, and increase education and understanding within communities.
  • Whizz-Kidz – ‘Wheeling for Independence’ aims to equip 300 disabled children with the skills they need to use their wheelchairs more independently. This unlocks countless opportunities to learn, make friends and be active, which, since March 2020, so many have been without. As part of the project, the charity will run new sessions in Scotland and Wales, and train 40 new practitioners, so no young wheelchair user is left behind.
  • Cutting Edge Theatre – ‘INSPIRE Disability Arts’ project will help establish equal access to the performing arts for those who have learning disabilities in Scotland and will work on a national strategy to establish a ‘ladder’ structure from primary school aged pupils all the way through to professional training and employment.
  • Keep Britain Tidy – ‘Ocean Recovery Project’ aims to prevent the dumping of redundant fishing nets at sea, termed ‘ghost nets’. These discarded nets are greatly damaging to marine ecosystems and habitats. The charity will develop a viable long-term solution through a UK-based recycling system which will promote the health and resilience of marine eco-systems, habitats and native species.
  • The Green Team – ‘Green Shoots’ will provide transformational opportunities for disadvantaged young people, to engage in positive activities in nature. Participants will learn wilderness living skills and nature connection techniques to deepen their connection to the natural environment and work together to make practical improvements to local greenspaces.
  • Engineering Development Trust – ‘Industrial Cadets Bronze’ and ‘Green Garden Project’ are projects which will help young people get to grips with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). EDT will use a gardening-based environmental challenge to inspire young people towards STEM and environmental futures.
  • Street League – ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ will work with vulnerable young people across Scotland who have left school with few or no qualifications. Through its award-winning sport and employability programme, Street League will provide 1,000 young people with the second chance they deserve to gain qualifications and move into sustained employment, education, or further training.
  • Deafblind UK – ‘Fitting In and Standing Out’ will support vulnerable young people with dual sensory loss, who often find their challenges are compounded by a lack of understanding from teachers and peers, and an absence of support provision from local authorities. Deafblind UK will aim to change that through its innovative research project.
  • Edinburgh Science – ‘Generation Science 2022’ will help improve primary science education for children in the most deprived areas of Scotland and provide opportunities they would not normally get to experience. The project will provide fun and engaging science workshops that contribute to raising aspirations among children across Scotland.
  • Coldharbour Mill – ‘Heritage Craft Skills Programme’ will respond to local community needs for skills training opportunities and employment, and the curricular needs of educational institutions, while contributing to the charity’s responsibility to protect, preserve and pass on heritage craft skills. In the context of art and culture, the project also addresses the strategic aims of education, training and research, and social initiatives.
  • National Library of Scotland – ‘Scotland’s Tapes Go Digital’ is an important project which will digitalise a collection of video and audio tapes telling Scotland’s history and stories, which were at risk of being lost forever. A rich treasure trove of cultural heritage from the 1950s to the 2000s, this material will be a celebration of Scottish history just in time for the Centenary of Broadcasting in Scotland in 2023, which will mark 100 years of BBC Scotland.
  • Playlist for Life – ‘Music Connects Communities’ will support families living with dementia through its Help Points programme, by expanding and supporting a UK-wide network of Help Points to reach people with dementia in their own communities. ‘Help Points’ is somewhere people affected by dementia can access free information, resources and, in some cases, support about creating and using a personalised playlist. The playlists will ultimately help improve their health, well-being, and social connections.
  • Linkage Community Trust – ‘Linkage Sensory Outreach Project’. The charity will arrange a Sensory Bus visit to 12 schools throughout Greater Lincolnshire to provide a sensory resource where it is most needed. Rural isolation makes it difficult for many families to access support for their children with learning disabilities, and sensory therapy is known to have many developmental and therapeutic benefits as well as improving feelings of well-being and happiness.
  • Froglife – ‘Fife Living Water’ will restore Cowdenbeath Wetland and create freshwater at Swan Pond in Cowdenbeath to help build habitats for freshwater bodies and simultaneously improve the biodiversity of the surrounding area. Currently, the Cowdenbeath Wetland is no longer functioning as a wetland, with the freshwater bodies heavily vegetated preventing them from holding water.
  • Cheshire Wildlife Trust – ‘Wasted Space, an Urban Transformation’ will support volunteers and community groups to deliver activities to boost biodiversity and transform otherwise wasted community spaces into wildlife havens on their doorstep. The project will also improve the wellbeing of a wide range of local people and equip them with the skills and knowledge to protect the nature in their neighbourhood.
  • Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust – ‘Pollinators along the Tweed’ will help protect threatened pollinator insects such as bees and butterflies within the River Tweed catchment, crossing the England-Scotland border. By restoring wildflower meadows and grasslands, the charity will protect biodiversity and enable insect populations to recover and flourish. The project will also support communities, schools and businesses to improve local greenspaces for wildlife, and consequently positively contribute to people’s health and wellbeing.
  • Ocean Conservation Trust – ‘Seagrass Restoration Co-Operative’ will pilot an innovative and holistic process to enable large-scale restoration of seagrass – one of the most valuable habitats on the planet. They absorb carbon, are a nursery for fish and reduce coastal erosion. UK seagrasses are declining. The charity’s legacy will be a blueprint for increased carbon sequestration and biodiversity plus support for fisheries and coastal communities going forward.

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