The Co-op Foundation is inviting organisations to tender for a contract that will help it to learn how to maximise the use of community spaces to tackle loneliness and build connections. Match-funded with government as part of its Space to Connect partnership, the contract will ask organisations to:

  • Draw together existing community development knowledge and learning and package it in accessible ways for dissemination to projects
  • Work closely with grant-holders to help them tell their stories, understand emerging learning and share across the fund to help shape work
  • Create interactive summaries of learning across the programme, drawing out key lessons from each phase which can be used to support, influence and inform projects and leave a resource for the future
  • Analyse evidence from the fund about the overall impact that maximising community spaces has on the fund’s ultimate goal of supporting social connections to reduce loneliness.

Community organisations across England, which are looking to improve spaces where people can connect and co-operate, can apply for grants of up to £50,000. Two strands of funding are available:

  • ‘Enhance’ – organisations that are using community spaces in innovative and creative ways can apply for grants of £30,000 to £50,000 to help expand activities and embed sustainable ways of working so they can build a more secure future.
  • ‘Explore’ – organisations that want to help communities start to explore ways that local challenges could be addressed through better use of space, and/or identify potential spaces that could be opened up to community use can apply for grants of up to £10,000.

This funding builds on the government’s commitment to unlock the potential of community spaces as part of its Loneliness Strategy. It also extends the Co-op Foundation’s existing support for organisations working to make spaces more sustainable. You can find out more and apply for funding on the Co-op Foundation website.