Launched in January through a £2 million Government investment and distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the Local Connections Fund has already supported hundreds of projects with microgrants of up to £2,500. The National Lottery Community Fund is providing the second round of funding, totalling a further £2 million, which will be open for applications in summer 2021.
Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen the whole voluntary and community sector be a powerful force for good. Small charities and community groups have led the way – supporting individuals to connect and helping communities come together in new and inspiring ways.
This is why – alongside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – we launched the Local Connections Fund, a £4 million fund to help charities and community groups in England working to reduce loneliness by building community connections.
Since we opened the first round of funding in January we’ve seen an incredible response, with community groups across the country applying for funding so they can improve social connections in their communities – whether using the funds to cover the costs of technology and equipment or strengthening their services through training and development.
In Northampton, the NorFAMtoN Windrush Generation Door-Step Befriending Team have been providing cooked meals for vulnerable community members with help from a £2,500 grant. The meals have been delivered by the organisation’s befriending volunteers to make connections with people who may otherwise be alone.
In Warrington, Families United received £1,250 to provide fun inclusive activities via Zoom on a weekly basis to enable families with children and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities to connect and interact with each other and reduce isolation.
In County Durham, Pimms and Needles received £2,475 to engage with vulnerable adults at risk of loneliness, especially those aged 65+, through a zoom-based quilting craft project. The funding has allowed the group to post out the equipment for participants to create two quilt panels capturing their experiences of the pandemic.
Through microgrants, we are empowering people to design, deliver, and fund local projects. We’re proud to have reached more than 840 groups with this funding on behalf of DCMS – and we now look forward to the summer when a further £2 million of National Lottery funding will be made available to community groups and projects that want to create social connections in their local communities.