Northamptonshire ACRE, an independent charity working with rural communities across the county, is delighted to have been awarded over £272,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work in rural areas of Northamptonshire. The charity, based at the Hunsbury Hill Centre in Northampton, will use the cash to support the development of 30 Good Neighbour schemes in rural communities, to ensure that local people at risk of crises are not isolated, get the support they need and are empowered to be active contributors to the community.
Northamptonshire ACRE was established in 1956 as a Rural Community Council to promote rural life by providing advice, support and resources across a range of topics relevant to those communities. The charity has a strong background in community engagement and regularly supports 90 – 100 parishes and over 100 village halls each year with help and advice to deliver projects that will allow them to thrive. Northamptonshire ACRE has also recently been working with Daventry District to support groups in the area who want to set up a Good Neighbour scheme in their village and there are now 5 successful schemes running.
The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will enable Northamptonshire ACRE to employ two Good Neighbour Fieldworkers to assist 30 rural communities across Corby, Wellingborough, Kettering and East Northamptonshire in setting up Good Neighbour schemes over the next 3 years. These initiatives are run by local volunteers to provide day to day support to other residents in their community who have low level needs and may require help or activities on an occasional or regular basis. It will enable up to 600 local volunteers to directly support more than 1,000 vulnerable community members – mostly isolated, older people and carers. Together, they’ll build stronger relationships and use their collective resources so more people achieve their potential.
The funding will also enable the Fieldworkers to carry out further visits to villages across the county to provide advice, information and signposted referrals to over 2,000 more vulnerable community members so they get the support they need, as well as providing advice surgeries in local libraries and village halls.
Elaine O’Leary, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire ACRE, says: “We’re absolutely delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. We have seen with the Daventry schemes how effective they are, not only in lessening isolation and bringing communities together but making the volunteers feel valued as well. And now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to support more rural communities to develop their own Good Neighbour Schemes and enjoy the benefits.”