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Over £5.8 million invested in Bristol’s voluntary and community organisations

Over £5.8 million invested in Bristol’s voluntary and community organisations

Community-focused projects have been awarded funding through the Bristol Impact Fund 2.

4 August 2021

Bristol citizens are set to benefit from a £5.844 million award that will help community-focused organisations to accelerate work that tackles Hate crime, increases mental health support, community voice and influence.

Forty organisations have been successful in their bid for grants in this second round of the Bristol Impact Fund (BIF 2), a four-year investment programme that supports them to do great work rooted in their communities. Bristol is one of the few councils that continues to prioritise funding of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector to this level, which is largely not matched by other core cities in the UK.

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Communities, Equalities and Public Health, said: “The funding we’re announcing today will build strong connections between people, encourage them to get involved in their community and to take action on things that are important to them. We want to strengthen the voice of our communities, so people feel able to influence decisions and make a positive difference long term.

“We are proud of our grant funding programme for VCSE organisations as we know the legacy of this funding is reducing inequality and improving the lives of citizens. COVID-19 has demonstrated how vital our voluntary, community and social enterprise sector is to the city.”

Over 120 funding proposals were assessed by council officers and partners against the Bristol Impact Fund’s strategic aim: to build the strength of Bristol’s most deprived communities and those most hard hit by inequity. 

Successful projects from the first round of the Bristol Impact Fund include the SPEAR (Social Prescribing for Equality and Resilience) project, a partnership between Southmead Development Trust and other charities across Bristol. In the last four years Southmead Development Trust has cemented itself as a leader in the field of social prescribing and has secured funding through NHS England contracts with all GP surgeries across North/West Bristol.

The service has become mainstream and supports more than 2000 adults a year. Southmead Development Trust is now pioneering children and young people’s social prescribing and has been able to secure additional funding to include structured programmes such as art, physical activity, dance and music in their model.

Colette Brown, Social Prescribing Manager, Southmead Development Trust said: “Social prescribing has shown the importance of a preventative model in health and wellbeing. By meeting people where they are at and addressing all aspects of their lives, people can build solid foundations and resilience to cope with life’s challenges.

“BIF has been life-changing for residents in North Bristol and importantly for those living in poorer areas. It has given people access to a holistic social prescribing service: six one-to-one sessions with a Link Worker who helps each participant create their own programme to address their mental and physical health issues before they turn into serious illness.

“Our model thrives on the power of relationships, something so simple that has become lost in our society. We are proud to have supported people to develop strong relationships with others in their community utilising and building on the assets within their community and within themselves to live their best lives. We know that being active in your community is one of the best things we can do for health and wellbeing and opens up routes to employment and other opportunities.”

Bristol Impact Fund 2 is also funding a collaborative project run by Docklands Community Centre, St Pauls, Talo Community CIC, Bristol Horn Youth Concern CIC (BHYC) and Vocalise Bristol.

Hibo Mahamoud, Talo and Khalil Abdi, BHYC said: “The funding will allow us to put stable community leadership in place with people who are known in their communities and have a track record of making things happen. Through this partnership we will pool our resources and work together to improve the wellbeing of the local Somali community in Newtown, Redcliffe, St Judes and St Pauls.

“We want to build economic inclusion and equity for our Somali communities. We support people to improve their own situation be that housing, employment or local environment. One of the ways we will do this will be to build connections with larger employers in Bristol to encourage fair, and positive work environments and reduce discrimination.”

Changes Bristol is a befriending service that supports people experiencing mental health difficulties through host walk and talk groups run by people with lived experience of mental health illness. The initiative received a BIF grant two years ago that helped set up and provide peer support groups across the most deprived areas of Bristol.

Jason Washbourne, Project Manager, Changes Bristol said: “The original grant was instrumental in launching the befriending service that helps the most vulnerable people in our communities. BIF 2 funding will allow us to build on this and help more people and train more volunteers.

“Demand for our services has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been vital for people with mental health difficulties to have regular non-judgemental human connection, to share how they are feeling and what they are going through.

“Having a free to access service which does not require a formal referral or diagnosis is particularly important to people on low incomes and although Changes deliver citywide services the focus of our work will be in the most deprived wards of Bristol.”

The Bristol Impact Fund 2 grants will run from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2025. The next round of BIF small grant applications will open in June 2022. Find out more about Bristol Impact Fund.

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