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‘We’ve had to learn to be resourceful, whilst helping our community to do the same’: The Cornish charities bringing people together, thanks to £13.5 million of National Lottery funding

New figures released yesterday revealed that over £13.5 million has gone to community groups across Cornwall this year*, thanks to National Lottery players. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 this year, vital National Lottery funding has enabled inspiring local good causes to carry on their amazing work and bring glimmers of hope to their communities.

The money, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has helped communities to overcome some of this year’s obstacles to deliver crucial support and bring a sense of togetherness to people while they have had to remain apart.

Lizzie Sullivan is the founder of Whole Again Communities, a community hub on the Treneere Estate in Penzance, that helps people learn to cook good quality, affordable food from scratch alongside a community garden and a weekly Repair Cafe. The aim is to encourage people to reach their potential, improve their lives and develop a sense of community.

Before the pandemic hit, it was a thriving organisation but when the country went into lockdown, the group had to quickly adapt with the help of a National Lottery funding boost of over £13,000.

Lizzie Sullivan, Founder of Whole Again Communities, yesterday said:

“Pre-COVID-19 all our work was done in our tiny porta-cabins. We were very aware that there were vulnerable families using our service and volunteering, so we had to adapt. We had to say bye to 100% of our volunteers, many of whom were vulnerable. The National Lottery Community Fund were fantastic and reacted really quickly to our request for funding. It will allow us to be able to go forward with much more stability.”

By the end of March, Whole Again Communities was already sending out boxes of ingredients to vulnerable families and holding cooking workshops online. They also provided bags of compost and seeds which proved very popular.

Lizzie added:

“Back in April we were giving people courgette seeds and come September, our families were coming to the hub and leaving bags of courgettes or pepper for us to use in our hot pots”

Whole Again Communities is just one of many charities and organisations throughout Cornwall, harnessing the power of community to make it through the struggles of 2020. Another is The Solomon Browne Memorial Hall in Mousehole, which lost 50% of its income, when the pandemic meant that it was no longer able to be hired out for community events.

With the help of £14,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, it quickly became a hub for Mousehole’s emergency COVID-19 response. The first action the group took was to split the village into 12 areas, identifying who was vulnerable and needed support, and who might be able to volunteer to keep up with demand. Within weeks they had over 30 people from around the village lending a hand.

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