In this issue:
Funding programmes open to your constituents
You can use our Funding Finder to search for funding programmes that are available for your constituents, while our grants search will allow you to find projects that have been funded in your constituency.
See a list of funding programmes open to your constituents
BIG Lottery funding in the South West
The Big Lottery Fund has awarded over £23 million to projects across the South West between end of March 2011 and end of March 2012, benefitting 786 projects across the region to the value of £23,174,583. 645 grants totalling £6.1 million were made under our small grants programme Awards for All and 60 grants totalling over £12.5 million were made through our flagship programme Reaching Communities.
Big in the South West
BIG’s South West regional team is proud to represent BIG at a regional and local level keeping external partners informed of BIG’s work, supporting local grant holders and making sure BIG’s funding is accessible by delivering outreach events and support to local funding advisors.
The team also plays an important role in BIG’s grant making, providing contextual information to our committees to enable them to make informed decisions about which grants to award in the region.
Sheltered Work Opportunities Project
The Chestnut Nurseries in Poole is the second project of the charity the Sheltered Work Opportunities Project. The Nursery has been awarded £138,000 under the Reaching Communities programme to expand the current work of this garden nursery which provides work placements for more than 50 people with severe and enduring mental health problems.
Research shows that in any one year, 25 per cent of the population experience some kind of mental health problem. Long term mental health issues can make it difficult for people to function normally, as they feel stigmatised, lonely and lacking self-esteem and have limited chances of developing relationships with other people.
The project aims to improve the mental well-being of the volunteers through the healing nature of horticulture. The volunteers are offered a supported pressure-free work environment, as due to the nature of their illness, they may be unable to compete in the open job market. It also reduces the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness by increasing the public’s awareness through their interaction with the volunteers at the garden centre.
Volunteers are actively involved in the daily running of the nursery, through tasks like weeding, potting, taking cuttings, plant sales, office work and domestic duties and this allows them to build routine and structure into their everyday lives. They also have the chance to take part in training courses to improve their social and core skills and improve their employability.
As Laurence Jackson, the Nursery Manager says: “Chestnut Nurseries gives opportunities to people with enduring mental illness to work with the organisation. People find it difficult to relate to people with mental health issues and to have conversations with them about it. Here they have a chance to talk about their shared experiences and it gives them the skills and opportunity to re-enter employment.”
The project has had a significant impact on the volunteers that work there, as Bob who is a volunteer who has worked at the Nursery for six years says: “Before I came here life was pretty horrendous for me. Even though I had my family for support, when you have mental health issues it is really difficult to start to move forward with your life. Since working here, I have started to get my self-esteem back; as I am working with people who have similar issues to me.”
New research published by Savlon and Play England reveals two thirds of parents always had adventures outdoors as a child but worry their children do not have the same opportunities today.
The research confirms parents’ concerns that children are no longer spending their time playing outdoors. 72 per cent of adults played outside rather than indoors, compared to 40 per cent of children today, with children now at risk of losing out on essential childhood experiences that outdoor play brings. For example, 32 per cent of children say they have never climbed a tree and 47 per cent of adults built dens every week as a child, yet 29 per cent of today’s children say they have never built a den at all.
As Play England says: “Play is a way of bringing communities together, overcoming barriers and providing a focus for different agencies to work more closely with local people to improve the quality of life for children, parents and families.”
On 16 June the Taunton Academy in Somerset hosted the 14th South West Play Celebration exploring the idea of ‘free range childhoods’ and the ensuing role of adults in supporting children’s play in a wide variety of settings. It is aimed at people working in urban or rural communities, and in a strategic or hands-on role. A wide range of workshops are being provided to inspire and equip delegates to make sure children where you live can play every day.
If you are involved in the play sector you may also be interested to know BIG has just published a case study about its Children’s Play programme, which has recently closed. The Children’s Play programme aimed to enhance, create and develop inclusive free play opportunities, promote long term and sustainable play provision and ensure partners worked together to develop play opportunities.
The case study shares the learning from the programme and focuses on the seven themes that were key to the programme: putting free play into action, developing inclusive play opportunities, engaging children and young people in designing play, taking risks in play, free play for the whole community, play in a multi-agency context and addressing play deprivation.
The case study will be available from our website shortly or you can request a copy from: Hilary Leavy, Tel: 020 7211 1910.
Also, on 1 August 2012, it is also National Play Day, ‘Get Out and Play’, organised by Play England, which is calling on everyone to help make sure children and young people have the time, freedom and space to play outdoors. It also highlighting that outdoor play is critical for children’s health, well-being and happiness. There are hundreds of community events being organised across the country.
How can we help you?
The regional team can arrange bespoke events for you and your constituents, from funding advice surgeries to constituency tours of lottery funded projects.
Also, every month we email all South West MPs with the details of awards that have been made in their constituencies.
To arrange a constituency tour or to find out how we can help support your constituents please contact us.
Contact: Mark Cotton, Head of South West Region
Telephone: 01392 455 830