Co-op Foundation to deliver £1.5m youth community project

'Spaces where young people can come together to enjoy shared interests are important for building connections'

A total of 144 organisations will receive up to £10,000 to work with young people to maximise under-used spaces and tackle youth loneliness.

The Co-op Foundation is delivering the project with funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Building Connections Fund Youth strand.

The Co-op Foundation is the Co-op Group’s charity set up to help communities UK-wide work together to make things better.

Lambeth Elfrida Rathbone Society is one of the organisations that will receive funding to co-design improvements to an old library to create a quieter social space for young people with disabilities.

Hull FC Community Sports and Education Foundation will also benefit from financial support to work with young people to identify community spaces where they can run turn-up-and-play sports activities.

And in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, the Refugee Forum will co-design improvements to a church basement, which they use to run a project for asylum seeking young people.

All organisations receiving funding support young people within the most deprived 30% areas in England or that mainly benefit young people with experience of bereavement, being a carer or being unemployed or precariously employed; who have a disability or long-term health condition or who have been in the care system.

In December £11.5m was invested into 126 community organisations from the Building Connections Fund. Additional funding was made available within the youth strand to help make an immediate impact on the Government’s commitment to maximise community spaces announced in the Loneliness Strategy.

The Building Connections Fund was set up to support projects that are able to prevent or reduce loneliness. The Fund is a partnership between the government, the Co-op Foundation and the Big Lottery Fund to tackle loneliness and improve community connections.

Jim Cooke, head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Spaces where young people can come together to enjoy shared interests are important for building connections and tackling youth loneliness.

“By involving young people in improving local spaces, we’re helping to increase their confidence and skills, while also building stronger, co-operative communities. We look forward to seeing the impact this funding has tackling youth loneliness across England.”

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