Grassroots action is powerful.
Why? Because communities are wildly diverse and by working from a community level we can create tailored solutions. Of course, action requires resources. That’s where funding comes in.
Here’s a spotlight on one of the funds we know and love:
The Carling Made Local Fund supports a vivid range of community projects across the UK. All overcoming local challenges and strengthening communities in unique and creative ways.
The 2019 Made Local Fund was bigger than ever. Last year, 50 diverse projects received support for their bespoke community actions; From getting warm clothing to older people in need, to providing survival packs for homeless people and running events to battle isolation in care homes.
We went to visit some of the projects who received funding, to hear about how they action change in their communities.
Here are two of the many stories we heard:
Amy’s Care is a family-run CIC providing engaging daycare for older people and those living with dementia in North and West Cumbria. Many of its participants are socially or rurally isolated so Amy’s Care offers them opportunities for joy, friendship and stimulation.
They believe in providing an engaging environment for older people that promotes inclusion and helps them lead a fulfilled life. By taking groups out to engage with their communities and with the outdoors, Amy’s Care helps older people to live an active and independent life for as long as possible and provides much-needed respite to their carers and families.
They applied to the Made Local Fund to help them train volunteer ‘pilots’ for their new trishaws. The trishaws will be used to help people with restricted mobility and those with dementia to get outdoors in the fresh air and experience the joy of feeling the wind in their hair!
Research shows that getting about in the outdoors can improve mental health, social cohesion and community connection for older adults and those with dementia.
The training is teaching 10 volunteers on how to handle the trishaws with essential First Aid and Health and Safety training. This will enable them to take users out, pedalling the lanes of Keswick safely and with confidence. Because of support from Made Local, training has started and the trishaws will soon be available to community groups in the area, with a merry band of volunteer pilots available. It’s estimated that in the first 6 months of operation over 500 people will directly or indirectly benefit from the trishaws the project.
“Everyone benefits! Older people and those with mobility restrictions get to experience the joy and freedom of cycling in the outdoors, our pilots get fit through pedalling and the community benefits from a low-cost sustainable form of transport. It puts a smile on everyone’s face!”
Amy’s Care Founder, Fraser Dooley.
Market Harborough Fixers Repair Café
The repair cafe was set up in 2019 by Market Harborough Fixers CIC as part of a national campaign to save broken items from landfill and promote sustainability. Steve Cousens set up the FIxers Cafe to ‘save waste and landfill locally as well as enabling the local community to save replacement cost for equipment and personal items’.
The regular repair cafe events are run by volunteers who mend the local community’s broken items, saving a pile of stuff that would have otherwise gone to landfill and saving the community money on replacing their items. Items saved from the bin have included clothes, toys, books and garden tools. It’s been a roaring success, with their third event seeing queues out the door.
50% of the items brought in are electrical goods, but these cannot be mended safely without PAT testing equipment. The project needed Made Local funding /support to buy PAT electrical safety testing equipment and pay for training on how to use the equipment.
Through purchasing the PAT safety equipment and training three volunteer fixers to use the equipment, Made Local support has allowed the project to double their repairs and therefore their impact. Since the group started it’s estimated that it has prevented 87 kg of waste going to landfill and 790 kg of CO2 emissions.
“The funding has been essential for us. Safety is crucial, every electrical item that is repaired is PAT tested to ensure it will be safe to use. Electrical goods make up about 50 per cent of items repaired and without the PAT testing equipment and training none of these items could have been saved.” said Steve Cousens, project founder.
Made Local will be supporting a whole heap more community action in 2020. Stay tuned for upcoming funding opportunities!
Follow us on social and sign up to the monthly Semble Scoop newsletter.