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Community-led projects tackle loneliness with £88 million National Lottery funding win

Almost £88 million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to over 3,000 projects across England this quarter. The good news comes ahead of Loneliness Awareness Week (17 – 21 June), an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of loneliness and helping reduce the stigma.

The funding has gone to support many different groups and projects taking innovative approaches to tackling loneliness and isolation, amongst other things. Recipients all share one thing in common – they understand what’s needed in their communities and are focused on bringing people together to improve lives and provide support.

This includes Recovery Devon CIC, based in Bideford, which has been awarded almost £7,500 to create ‘Happy to Share My Table’ cards that people can use in cafés and other public spaces to let others know that they welcome the company of strangers. The project aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness by enabling people to connect and build positive relationships.

James Woolridge, Managing Director at Recovery Devon CIC, yesterday said: 

“National Lottery funding will enable us to create ‘Happy to Share My Table’ cards, which can be used in cafes and other places where people gather, as an invitation to share a table, start a conversation and build connections within our communities. Loneliness and isolation affects people of all ages and has a major impact on wellbeing. By encouraging people to share their tables and spend some time chatting, we hope to reduce the number of people feeling the effects of loneliness.”

Other groups celebrating yesterday’s funding announcement include:

  • The Dove Service Ltd in Stoke on Trent which has received over £9,000 to offer a peer support service to people experiencing significant loss. The project will help to build supportive relationships to tackle loneliness.
  • The Voluntary Organisations Development Agency (VODA)in North Tyneside has received nearly £472,000. The funding is for a project involving several voluntary and community organisations collaborating to reduce loneliness among older people, carers, and those in financial difficulty. It will include recruiting and training ‘Good Neighbours’ assisting isolated people in the community with tasks such as DIY and shopping, as well as social interaction.
  • The Voice That Makes a Difference in Northampton has been awarded over £115,000. The group will bring over 1,000 young disabled people together to enjoy films by providing 24 screenings at local cinemas over three years that include British Sign Language, subtitles and audio description. This will make the cinema accessible to all and help people to make new friends with similar backgrounds and experiences, reducing isolation and loneliness. The funding will also provide workshops in drama, music and technology to support young people with disabilities to build their confidence and skills.
  • The SeeThrough Theatre Company in Camden has been awarded over £9,000 to help socially isolated groups become involved in the wider community through Brazilian culture – inspired music and craft workshops. This includes local elderly groups and children, who will play and sing music, make Carnival props and costumes, and hear stories from Brazilian folklore.

James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, yesterday said: 

“Thanks to National Lottery players we are able to support more projects addressing loneliness and social isolation than any other funder in the UK.

“We’re delighted that many of the projects we have funded this quarter are focussed 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.”

Notes to Editors

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

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