As the Coronavirus pandemic continues and another period of lockdown begins, charity and think tank The Young Foundation, through the Tower Hamlets Council Communities Driving Change programme, has launched a new grant scheme to help support local residents to minimise the negative health and wellbeing impact on their communities.
Aimed at residents, small or informal community groups and local organisations, The Tower Hamlets Communities Driving Change Small Grants Scheme will support locals to get their community projects off the ground. Anyone with a great idea to solve a problem in the community, who finds it hard to access funding or wants to improve health and wellbeing in the local community should apply.
Local people and groups interested in applying should head to the website to fill out the short application form or alternatively send a video of them talking about their project via WhatsApp (+44 7956308313).
Spotlight on local volunteer: Munnie
As another day dawns on the Chicksand Estate in Bethnal Green, Munnie is busy packing activity parcels for over 90 different families in her local area. Her and a team of volunteers have been giving light relief to their neighbours during the pandemic. Every two weeks they’ve been delivering packs with easy activities to keep the kids entertained and now they are expanding to deliver seedlings to older people in the community. Children and adults have using social media to share pictures of the different things that they’ve made, including cards that they’ve sent to other members of the community, allowing the project to reach even more people.
“It’s really brought people together virtually while they can’t be together in person,” says Munnie; “the response has been really amazing – parents calling me up, sending photos and voice notes of their children enjoying the activities.”
Munnie first encountered Communities Driving Change (CDC) over a year ago during a pop-up resident engagement session outside Thomas Buxton Primary School where her children attend. She then went on to join the programme as a volunteer, working with fellow residents and stakeholders on the Chicksand Estate to deliver quarterly events aimed at promoting community connectivity and better interaction with local space and services. She quickly carved out a role for herself as a caterer for the events, and through her involvement with CDC has gone on the get a qualification in Food Hygiene. This then led to her establishing her own small catering enterprise.
She notes: “I’m really happy because [CDC] has given us so many opportunities to express our ideas and make them work. It hasn’t just been that they want to do something for the government, or for their work, or whatever – it’s actually been about what we want. We’ve been allowed to express ‘we would like to do this’ and then we’ve made it happen.”
Helen Goulden, CEO at the Young Foundation,says:“We know there are many more local heroes like Munnie who are working tirelessly to help improve the health and wellbeing of the local community. With a second lockdown, we are pleased to be launching this fund to support our residents and community sector to respond to local needs. The fund is specifically aimed at those who might normally find it hard to access funding to develop their ideas and we’re so excited to see what great ideas our community members have and give them the support they need to make them a reality!”
If you are aresident, small informal community group, organisation or business based in the local community who has a great idea or wants to solve a problem in the community, The Young Foundation wants to hear from you. Applicants will need to be living or working in North West Tower Hamlets on the Chicksand Estate, Collingwood Estate, Columbia Road, or the surrounding area. There is an easy online application form to fill out via the website or alternatively applicants may submit a video talking about their idea via WhatsApp (+44 7956308313). The deadline for applications is11:59pm on Sunday, 22nd November. Successful applicants will receive between £500 and £5,000 funding, alongside support to develop the idea and their skills.