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The amazing projects making a difference in local communities

Posted on Thursday 8th October 2020
Gill and Allan Smith Newsroom

Gill and Allan Smith from Dementia Singing Friends in South Staffordshire

Gill Smith 79 and husband Allan aged 80 both love singing and getting out to meet people, and thanks to Dementia Singing Friends, they can do just that. The sing along sessions run in South Staffordshire and give people with dementia and their carers the chance to get together, meet new friends  and support each other. As well as the singing, the sound you will always hear coming from the group is laughter.  

At Haregate Community Centre In Leek, £400 funding helped run the Family Cookery programme, helping local families get hands on with cooking and learning about healthy eating. Local families joined professional cooks for fun sessions , focusing on nutrition, healthy living and how to make healthy eating affordable.

For young people in Burton, BrightFuture’s Me b4 Media project worked with Year 6 pupils in three schools on staying safe when using social media. Over 90 pupils attended special sessions and were given tailored resources  to help them understand how social media can affect their well-being and what a healthy use of social media looks like.

These are three of over 60 local community projects having a real impact on people’s lives thanks to funding from Staffordshire County Council.

The 2019/20 People Helping People Fund saw £2500 allocated to each County Councillor, to invest in projects that help keep people independent, healthy and supported within the places they live. 

A total of £86,127 was awarded to projects with a further £276,035 being raised in match funding or other resources.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Staffordshire County Council said:

“This fund was a new approach for us and was all about giving the community a chance to take the lead on the projects that matter to them most.

“We’re really pleased with the success of the fund and how the relatively small amounts of funding have helped make a difference to so many people’s lives. Local county councillors know their communities best and we’ve seen some great projects funded, from promoting healthy and active lifestyles, bringing communities together to providing extra services for young people. 

“Community and voluntary groups and their projects have a huge role to play here in Staffordshire and providing the funding has help get many projects off the ground or helped them continue. They can also help fill in any gaps where support is not available as well as helping to complement existing county council services.”

Sarah Slater from Dementia Singing Friends in South Staffordshire said:

“We were incredibly grateful for the funding which has allowed us to run a number of activities for people living with Dementia and their carers.

“Dementia comes with a fair amount of stress for both those who live with it and their carers, who are usually their partner or close family members,  but our sing along group has been really successful and has helped bring people together and reduce loneliness and isolation. Before lockdown, we were able to get people together for a sing along every week, upwards of 30 people at a time, but since the restrictions we have had to turn to running much smaller groups and use things like Zoom and What’s App.  Thankfully many of our group were still able to access the technology. Hopefully when we get through the pandemic we’ll be able to get back to our regular sessions.”

Laura Cottingham, manager at Haregate Community Centre said:

“We were all excited when we got news of the funding.  We were able to put on 5 cookery sessions teaching families how to cook healthy, nutritious and fun meals using fresh produce from the community cupboard.  We even managed to get all the children involved.

“Not only did it give families a better understanding of cooking healthily on a budget but also highlighted the benefits of batch cooking to help save even more money. Running the project also encouraged new families to visit the centre where we got the chance to introduce them to other services.”

Rachel Ortiz from BrightFutures said:

“We were incredibly grateful for the £715 funding which has helped us deliver our social media awareness sessions to over 90 pupils.

“Reaching children at an early stage in their childhood, and getting them this kind of support is vitally important for supporting their long-term well-being. The sessions have really helped  improve their mental health and general wellbeing Which is key to preventing the need for more serious interventions and support in the future.”

Other successful projects funded include:

  • £500 funding helped towards the cost of the new E.L.I.T.E Community Café to improve social inclusion activities for people in Chesterton.
  • Funding of £500 for the Fireworks project in Cannock Chase helped Provide one-to-one support sessions for school age children, supporting positive emotional and mental health through different activities including music.
  • In Lichfield, £2500 helped to set up the new Beacon Parkrun to help families stay active. Funding helped befriending services and dementia and carers support, such as the expansion into Rugeley of the MHA’s Befriending Service.
  • Funding also helped schools and agencies to commission support for young people, such as the Staffordshire University Academy who received £500 for a Mental Health Support Service for its young people.
  • The Red Lion House Community Centre in Burton put its £1200 funding towards turning a disused pub into a community and church centre to provide services to the local community.

A full list of funded projects for 2019/20 is available here.

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Email: pressoffice@staffordshire.gov.uk
Call: 01785 895050

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Contact the newsroom

These contact details are for journalists and members of the media only:

Email: pressoffice@staffordshire.gov.uk
Call: 01785 895050

If you are not a journalist or member of the media and have a general enquiry please:

Email: contactus@staffordshire.gov.uk
Call: 0300 111 8000