Partnership to help communities tackle loneliness

A new partnership between the government and the Co-op Foundation, worth £1.6 million, is set to help communities tackle loneliness by protecting local spaces that bring people together.

Space to Connect has awarded an initial round of almost £900,000 to 57 community organisations across England, with grants of up to £50,000 set to support projects that use spaces to address local challenges or expand activities. Funding also builds on the Co-op Foundation’s work to strengthen community spaces where people can connect and co-operate.

Among the organisations to receive funding are the Garage Trust Ltd, in Norwich, which will use £49,755 to support weekly art classes in a community building dedicated to improving people’s lives through art, and the Sussex Community Development Association, which will use £49,728 to support the refurbishment of a new community centre, completing the transformation from an older people’s day-centre to a multi-purpose community asset.

Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society, said: “Strong communities play a crucial role in tackling loneliness and social isolation. This £1.6 million worth of funding will create and enhance local spaces that bring people together, encouraging them to make new and lasting friendships. It is part of our ongoing commitment to work hand in hand with local communities to build a shared, integrated and socially responsible society.”

Jim Cooke, head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Our Space to Connect partnership with government builds on our commitment to strengthen communities and tackle loneliness through co-operation. Grants awarded today will empower people to work together to make better use of spaces to address local challenges, improving the well-being and skills of their whole community.”