£370,000 in Southwark Council funding has been given out to sixteen community groups at the forefront of the borough’s COVID-19 response.
This is the second round of two-year grants given out in the ‘Common Purpose’ scheme, which focuses on community cohesion, tackling social isolation, and promoting a greener borough.
Beneficiaries include Walworth Golden Oldies, a charity supporting older people from the Windrush Generation.
Russell Profitt MBE, the charity’s chair, said: “This grant is literally a lifesaver for our elderly Black, Asian and minority ethnic users.
“It’s particularly welcome at this time, as it will help us expand our efforts to help improve digital skills of local elderly residents.
“As we all now live in the ‘everything’s online’ era, it’s critically important that elderly people are not left behind in the relentless rush to make everything digital.”
Funding will also help Opening Doors London, a charity that supports older people from the LGBTQ+ community.
Adrian Beaumont, Opening Doors London’s head of operations and communications said: “We are able to utilise this funding with LGBTQ+ people over 50 in Southwark to help reduce social isolation and loneliness with specialist support services and access to online groups.”
Another organisation to gain funding is Global Generation and its ‘Paper Garden’ initiative , which encourages local young people to volunteer, learn from nature, and share their ideas about the rapidly changing areas of Canada Water.
Emma Trueman, Paper Garden manager at Global Generation, said: “Thanks to the Common Purpose grant, we’re able to offer 60 free spaces to local young people on our Paper Garden youth programme.
“As a ‘Generator’, young people will look at how they can take positive action to improve their communities, learning about environmental social justice and how to look after their mental and physical health along the way.
“The project gives them the chance to work with local groups and businesses, get creative, and develop important skills to take with them through school and employment.”
Cllr Alice Macdonald, cabinet member for communities, equalities and neighbourhoods at Southwark Council, said: “Voluntary and community organisations have always played a pivotal role in bringing together communities in Southwark and empowering our residents to lead healthy and fulfilled lives.
“But the pandemic has truly brought home how much of a lifeline their services and activities are for our residents, especially the most vulnerable.
“Most organisations who benefitted from our last grant funding agilely adapted their services as lockdown began.
“I’ve been in awe of how they’ve become key players in the community’s COVID-19 crisis response by delivering food and other essentials, and providing support by telephone or online.
“After an incredibly difficult year of being cut off from the outside world, connecting with each other, with nature, and with issues that are close to our hearts has never been more important.
“I’m delighted that such well-deserving community organisations have been awarded Common Purpose grants to help achieve these aims for all residents.”