Communities Driving Change awards grants to inspiring local projects in Tower Hamlets

Date: 8 April 2021

PRESS RELEASE

  • Tower Hamlets Communities Driving Change has unveiled the 10 recipients of its Small Grants Scheme in the north west of the borough

  • New scheme supports local residents to minimise the negative health and wellbeing impact of the coronavirus pandemic in their communities

9th April 2021: East London charity The Young Foundation, one of the providers of the Tower Hamlets Council Communities Driving Change (CDC) programme, has today announced recipients for its new grant scheme, that supports local residents to minimise the negative health and wellbeing impact on their communities in the north-west of the borough.

The scheme aims to ensure local people with the energy and passion, but who are not always able to access the funds and capacity-building support they need to deliver recovery initiatives informed by local need.

The Young Foundation is pleased to have supported 10 local projects in North West Tower Hamlets through the grant, addressing issues ranging from food poverty to isolation and loneliness. These initiatives were carefully selected by a panel of local organisations and residents based on the extent to which they are meeting local needs as part of CDC. Grantees will receive funding to deliver their projects, but also support to develop and deliver their ideas from our team of programme officers from the local community in Tower Hamlets.

Communities Driving Change Small Grant Scheme recipients:

  1. Cycle Saathi: The title of this project translates to ‘companion’ in most South Asian languages, named by residents such as Alea leading this project to make cycling more accessible for BAME women in the local area and for improved physical and mental wellbeing. During a time where much of life is restricted, this is particularly exciting as it will provide a new lease and space of freedom post-lockdown. The funding will provide training for Ride Leaders in running cycling groups safely, as well as the bikes, storage, maintenance, and insurance needed alongside it.
  2. Lockdown Activity Packs: Local volunteers are delivering hundreds of activity packs aimed at engaging families in fun activities at home during lockdown. Local resident Munni is leading on bringing the community together to make and deliver the packs. The activity packs will return with the help of the grant funding, with an additional round of activity packs specifically for those vulnerable to fuel poverty in the harsher weather (hot water bottles, blankets etc.).
  3. Winter Warmer Packs: Ina and her team of young local volunteers are delivering winter warmer packs filled with thermal hats, gloves, scarves, socks and a face mask to 84 families on her estate. They are focusing on older residents who may not have the opportunity to access these items or limited support available.
  4. Columbia Road Community Orchard: The Columbia Road Tenants’ Association will expand their vast array of community gardening projects across four estates, engaging residents to take part in planting a diverse orchard of fruit trees with support from The Orchard Project, a local east London charity. This initiative will provide a source of solace for communities with little outdoor or green space nearby and will, over time, become a hearty source of fresh food, herbs and flowers for many, including seed packs for children and families to take away and plant in their own homes.
  5. Collingwood Community Hall Kitchen: Collingwood community hall will receive funding for setting up a commercial kitchen. The kitchen will be offered to residents to use for making and distributing food for the local community, providing a space for storage for food bank drives and much more. Food poverty has been a clear and high priority area for local residents during these times.
  6. Ranah Ghor Community Kitchen: Two residents on the Collingwood estate have come together to address the challenges facing families made most vulnerable from the effects of Covid in accessing culturally-appropriate, healthy and nutritious food. The funding will provide residents with food hygiene training as well as all the equipment needed for cooking and delivering the food. Working in collaboration with Collingwood Hall’s kitchen that the scheme is also funding, they will have access to a local community kitchen to carry out this amazing initiative.
  7. Gascoigne Gardening Group: A group of residents have transformed an abandoned space in their local estate into an allotment since the last lockdown. The grant will support them to purchase more equipment and tools necessary to maintain the space.
  8. Art and Crafts for Women at Hason Raza Centre: A local artist will deliver an arts and crafts programme for women who’d like to explore their creativity, providing a hub for them to come together in using arts and crafts as a medium to learn, connect and share. Most residents behind this initiative are mothers bound by the lockdown in unique ways, and they will be supported by the scheme as they lead on creating digital spaces that are valuable and work for them.
  9. Boundary Estate Community Launderette: A not-for-profit community enterprise run by residents since 1990, the grant funding will support this valuable community asset in continuing its operations through lockdown and beyond. It offers services at lower prices than other commercial launderettes, ensuring all those who rely on it can continue to use this service.
  10. Finance in Sports: A local resident is aiming to scale a successful pilot with a football club and provide advice for amateur sport clubs on ways they can grow or increase their annual income, especially under the current challenges being faced by sports clubs. The scheme will be helping them to launch a website and getting them connected to local youth activities interested in development and growth.

Isabel Young, Senior Programme Manager at The Young Foundation, says: “The grant scheme has been a fantastic opportunity to adapt and extend the programme’s support for local residents wanting to take a lead for improved health and wellbeing in their communities. We created the scheme in response to what residents participating in the programme said they needed, to be able to run recovery and response initiatives locally. What’s exciting is that this is about more than just funding, but about tailored personal support to enable passionate local people to make a change. We aimed to make the scheme as accessible and inclusive as possible, and in doing so have been able to support people who wouldn’t otherwise be able access funding opportunities. We’re proud to be supporting some incredible initiatives, tackling everything from food poverty to social isolation and loneliness. We like to thank everyone taking part in the scheme for their energy and dedication to promoting recovery from the pandemic and to Tower Hamlets Council for their ongoing support as the commissioners of Communities Driving Change.”

Ina Khan is a local resident in Bethnal Green and one of the grantees delivering the Winter Warmer Packs. She said: “I wish I was able to do more but I guess one project at a time. I’m so excited to be doing this for my community and I’m so thankful to CDC For giving me this platform to do [something] for my community”.

ENDS 

For media enquiries please contact Sarah Hogg, Communications Manager on sarah.hogg@youngfoundation.org or on +44 7940 281470.

Spokespeople: Isabel Young, Senior Programme Manager for Communities Driving Change at The Young Foundation is available for interview about the news. Spokespeople will also be available from each initiative.

About The Young Foundation: 

The Young Foundation’s mission is to develop better connected and stronger communities across the UK. We research in and with communities to increase your understanding of community life today. We offer different methods and approaches to involve communities and grow their capacity to own and lead change. We provide tools and resources to support innovation to tackle the issues people and communities care about. We’re a UKRI accredited research organisation, social investor and community practitioner.

About Communities Driving Change: 

The Grant Scheme is part of the wider Communities Driving Change programme, which has been one of the main priorities of Tower Hamlets Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The programme aims to build a ‘health creation’ platform to improve the health of communities by:

  • Identifying issues impacting health and wellbeing that matter to local people
  • Supporting residents who have the energy and passion to make a difference to design and deliver projects for improving health and wellbeing in their local community

  • Connecting with local services to ensure they are better able to respond to local need

The programme operates in 12 of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Tower Hamlets. These have been selected based on health data and a need to strengthen assets supporting health and wellbeing in those areas. Find out more about the local programmes.