Almost £1.5 million invested to tackle youth loneliness and improve young people’s access to under-used community spaces

Funding delivered by Co-op Foundation through Building Connections Fund Youth strand

Unused cafes and empty office units will be transformed into digital hubs and creative art studios thanks to almost £1.5 million of grants to improve young people’s access to under-used community spaces and tackle youth loneliness.

Funding has been provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and delivered by Co-op Foundation as part of the Building Connections Fund Youth strand.

A total of 144 organisations will receive up to £10,000 to work with young people to maximise under-used spaces, with a particular focus on improving access for their peers, or co-design innovative solutions to their existing work tackling youth loneliness.

Other projects that will receive funding include:
• Lambeth Elfrida Rathbone Society: Co-design improvements to an old library to create a quieter social space for young people with disabilities.
• Hull FC Community Sports and Education Foundation: Work with young people to identify community spaces where they can run turn-up-and-play sports activities.
• Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum: Co-design improvements to a church basement, which they use to run a project for asylum seeking young people.

Funding delivered builds on £11.5 million invested into 126 community organisations from the Building Connections Fund in December.

Additional funding was made available within the youth strand to help make an immediate impact on the Government’s commitment to maximise community spaces announced in the Loneliness Strategy.

Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said:

“Spaces where young people can come together to enjoy shared interests are important for building connections and tackling youth loneliness. By involving young people in improving local spaces, we’re helping to increase their confidence and skills, while also building stronger, co-operative communities. We look forward to seeing the impact this funding has tackling youth loneliness across England.”

The Building Connections Fund is a partnership between government, Co-op Foundation the Big Lottery Fund to tackle loneliness and improve community connections. Co-op Foundation is delivering grants for all projects supported through the youth-specific strand.

All organisations funded today support young people within the most deprived 30% areas in England or that mainly benefit young people with experience of bereavement, being a carer or being unemployed or precariously employed; who have a disability or long-term health condition or who have been in the care system.

For more information on the Co-op Foundation, visit www.coopfoundation.org.uk

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