Through our Thriving Communities strategy, we’ve boosted our funding from £1m a year to £3.5m over the next five years, leveraging an additional £2.02m in match funding. For every £1 invested, we’ve found that there’s a return of £10 in social value, calculated using the HACT social value calculator.
At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, the Communities management team quickly responded by repurposing £200,000 of community funds to begin emergency initiatives.
These different arrangements supported 169 community projects, with more than 80,000 people directly benefitting from the funding and focused on various different themes from ending isolation, to improving outdoor spaces to boosting positive mental health.
Working with partners like Good Exchange, Crowdfunder and The Greenham Trust meant that an additional £921,126 was match or crowd funded, directly benefitting our residents.
Over the next five years we’ll increasingly be taking an Asset Based Community Development approach in our communities. This means we’ll look at the schools, groups, charities and actual physical structures that already exist in the areas where we work, like village halls and playgrounds, youth clubs and baby groups – places where people gather together to support one another. Then we’ll approach them and offer investment and advice.
Our aim is to nurture these projects, these people - guiding them to identify exactly what they want for their communities, with long-term placemaking in mind. This means asking them to take the lead in setting aims and objectives, defining what they want for their communities.
We also reached out to some of our customers with support vouchers: £50,000 was committed, with almost a thousand households using the scheme due to redundancy, furlough, reduction in hours, shielding or self-isolation as well as issues with benefit payments and the costs associated with home-schooling.