More than £1.7 million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to 35 Bristol community projects.
In recognition of Loneliness Awareness Week which runs from 17 June to 21 June, the funding has been kindly distributed between community projects which aim to tackle loneliness and social isolation across the city.
Loneliness Awareness Week was launched just three years ago by the Marmalade Trust, who saw it was crucial to raise awareness and acknowledge the stigma behind loneliness.
It’s an annual event that highlights how loneliness affects those from all walks of life in local communities. A large portion of the funding was awarded to Bristol community groups who are driving for local people in the lead to address these issues.
Caring in Bristol , Bristol Refugee Rights and Migrateful CIO are just some of the organisations being awarded with funding for their community projects, which range from providing emergency short-term housing for those between the ages of 18-25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to providing classes delivered by chefs who are refugees and asylum seekers.
Among the organisations given funding is Ujima Radio CIC , a community radio station, as well as a media platform to encourage community development and increasing social capital. This money will go towards buying new equipment to provide more locals with opportunities to take part in the station and its shows.
(Image: Ujima Radio Station CIC)
Bristol Refugee Rights’ project aims to combat isolation and improve the wellbeing of refugees in the community.
The project desribes itself as “a lifeline for asylum seekers and refugees, who often have no family or friends in Bristol, to meet other people that speak their language and our trained volunteers so they make connections and be less isolated.”
A spokesperson added: “The Community Fund has allowed us to keep open so a massive thank you to everyone who has made this possible.”
HF Trust will receive over £51,000 in order to set up Luv2MeetU, a project which will set up a friendship and dating service for adults with disabilities. This will focus around a programme of activities, which already runs in several northern cities, but now the funding will permit it to be accessible in Bristol.
As the main focus around this funding is diminishing the stigma around the loneliness in the South West, Karen England, Project Development Manager at Luv2meetU aims to do just that: “We’re confident the lottery money will make a huge difference to the lives of participants, reducing stigma and social isolation in the process.”
Bristol isn’t alone in the success of gaining funding – the South West as a region is receiving more than £8.5 million, which is being distributed across 352 community projects and organisations.
Tom McCulloch, Head of Funding for the South West region at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re delighted that many of the projects we have funded this quarter are focused on bringing communities together, enabling people to make new connections and empowering their communities to thrive.
“With their ideas, knowledge and passion, this money changes lives.”
Last year The National Lottery Community Fund awarded more than half a billion pounds and created support for over 11,000 projects across the UK, focusing on health, education, environment and charitable purposes.