Council receives grant to promote volunteering and tackle loneliness

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

We have been awarded an £88,000 grant for our libraries to create opportunities to volunteer and help tackle loneliness.

The funding comes from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and has been distributed by Arts Council England (ACE) in partnership with national charity Libraries Connected.

The Know Your Neighbourhood (KYN) Project is designed to widen participation in volunteering and tackle loneliness in 27 areas across England.

Cllr Michelle Collins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding which will enable us to reach out to those who are suffering from social isolation.

“We’ll be using this investment to also give people the opportunity to gain new skills and create new social networks through volunteering.”

Cllr Michelle Collins

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport

Cllr Michelle Collins

Isobel Hunter MBE, Chief Executive, Libraries Connected said “Libraries Connected is thrilled to be a partner of the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund, supporting the library services that have received funding in the 27 target areas. Public libraries are at the heart of their communities and are uniquely placed to help local people participate in volunteering and connect with others.

“This important initiative will not only see exciting community projects in libraries across the country, it will also build a vital evidence base for scalable and sustainable interventions in the future.”

Research has shown that volunteering can connect communities, help people learn new skills and improve social networks.

The project runs until March 2025 across our district.

Residents will be able to take part in local projects which build their skills, improve their mental health and wellbeing, and create social networks.

The aim is to develop an understanding of what works to improve wellbeing and pride in communities.

The programme will also look at how people can be supported to volunteer and improve their social connections in the long term.

We have begun to pilot social inclusion events and activities in libraries and community venues in Pontefract, Knottingley, South Elmsall and Horbury. Events such as a community coffee morning, chair Zumba, autumn crafts and a poppy project are already popular.

Further volunteering opportunities, events and activities are available across all our libraries and the wider district from January 2024.

Visit libraries and local history for more information on Wakefield Libraries locations and opening times.

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