By Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value
In June, we launched our spaces campaign, a key focus area for our Co-operate 2022 plan. As part of this plan, we’re aiming to help save 2,000 at-risk community spaces across the UK over the next three years.
I’m really excited to let you know that in support of our focus on spaces, our charity, the Co-op Foundation has launched a new grants scheme to help young people advocate to improve community spaces. This is part of a £3 million extension to its #iwill Fund for youth social action.
Community organisations across England are encouraged to apply to the Foundation for grants of up to £35,000 to help young people take the lead in the way spaces are designed and managed.
This funding builds on the Foundation’s existing support for community spaces that includes:
- awarding interest-free loans and grants to help community spaces become more financially secure
- securing £1m of government funding to help more than 7,500 young people improve local spaces
- launching Space to Connect, a new £1.6m partnership with government to help communities do more with underused local spaces.
The Co-op Foundation’s extended #iwill Fund is a fantastic addition to our #saveourspaces campaign. If you know of any organisations that could benefit from this funding, please urge them to find out more here. They have until noon on Friday 20 September to apply.
As part of our wider campaign, you can also still nominate spaces in your area that you feel may be at risk here.
A note from Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation:
“Our partnership with the #iwill Fund over the past two years has shown the positive impact young people can have when they are given opportunities to take action on the issues they care about. We’re delighted to be extending this fund so that more young people can be empowered to make a difference.
“From supporting their peers to campaigning for change in their communities, young people’s own experiences and connections to the causes they’re addressing will help them to take the lead in improving local spaces, promoting wellbeing and developing their own skills.”
The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill Campaign that wants to make social action a part of life for as many young people as possible.
The fund is a £40 million joint investment from the National Lottery Community Fund, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. Co-op Foundation is acting as a match funder.