Charities handed £30m to tackle loneliness and boost volunteering

Charities in 27 deprived areas are being handed a share of £30m in government funding to create volunteering opportunities and combat loneliness.

The money is being handed out through the Department for Culture , Media and Sport through its Know Your Neighbourhood Fund, which aims to “support charitable projects to connect communities”.

Youth clubs, mental health charities and social enterprises will be among recipients of the Fund, which has been launched by the government in partnership with the National Lottery Community Fund, Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and UK Community Foundations.

Volunteering opportunities help to connect communities, help people to develop skills and grow their networks; and help public services serve local communities,” said the DCMS

Activities include offering one to one support to vulnerable residents, funding arts and crafts groups and running sport and coffee sessions.

Locations benefitting include Barnsley, Middlesbrough, Wolverhampton and Wakefield.

Charities to benefit include the Groundwork federation of charities, which has been handed £25,000 to create volunteering opportunities in its gardens, café and library in Blackpool.

Meanwhile Age UK Hull is using its £27,000 funding award to widen its home befriending work in Kingston upon Hull.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, dedicated volunteers and charity workers came together to support our communities in a real time of need - from taking time to check in on neighbours to delivering prescriptions,” said charities minister Stuart Andrew.

“We are determined to capture this brilliant spirit and see it continue, which is why I’m delighted to announce the launch of the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund.”

Other work includes creating volunteering opportunities in local museums, community choirs as well as music and drama clubs.

“Loneliness can impact anyone at any time in any community, and the work of voluntary organisations to reduce isolation and loneliness has been in higher demand since the pandemic,” added UK Community Foundations chief executive Rosemary Macdonald.

“The Know Your Neighbourhood Fund has enabled community foundations to provide vital support to initiatives that encourage impactful volunteering and community connectivity in some of the country’s most vulnerable areas.”

She added that programmes will be evaluated to “help us to understand the issues impacting volunteering and social inclusion, and we’re so grateful to the Government for this opportunity.

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