Space to Connect awards grants totalling £900,000 to 57 community organisations

The Co-op Foundation’s Space to Connect programme has awarded an initial round of almost £900,000 to 57 community organisations across England. The grants of up to £50,000 will support projects that use spaces to address local challenges or expand activities.

Space to Connect was launched in June 2019, at the same time as Co-op’s Endangered Spaces campaign to protect, support and improve 2,000 community spaces by 2022.

Space to Connect is a joint partnership between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Co-op Foundation, with both parties investing £800,000.

Support is split into two strands:

1. Organisations receiving ‘Enhance’ grants of up to £50,000 will use the investment to expand activities in spaces to make them more sustainable, and
2. ‘Explore’ partners will use up to £10,000 to identify ways to make better use of spaces so they can address challenges, like loneliness and access to community activities.

Applications to this fund are now closed. ‘Explore’ projects will have the opportunity to apply for further Space to Connect funding in March 2020 to continue their work.

Co-op’s Endangered Spaces campaign is part of Co-operate 2022 – the Co-op’s wider community vision for the next three years that will see it work on key areas that make communities stronger – community spaces, wellbeing, and education and skills.

Unfortunately, a full list of grant recipients hasn’t yet been published (we’ll bring this to you as soon as the full list is available). Among those to have received a Space to Connect award are:

o Exeter Community Centre Trust Ltd (£40,000): The grant will help refurbish and revamp the top floor of their community centre improving opportunities for the local community to take part in activities.
o Hurst Farm Social Club, Matlock (£38,767): The funding will support community engagement and youth activities, as well as developing an older people’s café to reduce isolation and increase income at their social club on a deprived estate.
o St Werburghs City Farm, Bristol (£46,808): This funding will create an online horticultural training programme that can be sold to generate income, and will enable intensive engagement activities to increase inclusion and diversity at the farm, and
o Trowbridge Town Hall Trust, Wiltshire (£49,984): Will be invested in increasing the use of the building, improving facilities and business sustainability planning to ensure a positive future for a historic building now run by the community.

The GOV.UK website provides details of some more successful applicants to the programme.

Further information about Space to Connect can be found on the Co-op website.

Image: St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol has been awarded a grant
of £46,808 from the Space to Connect programme.