Somerset charities secure funding to help local communities thrive

30 March 2021

We are delighted to announce our shared success with Spark Somerset and Somerset Wildlife Trust in securing almost £50,000 from the Thriving Communities Fund to boost community-based activities that will benefit people’s health & wellbeing in Somerset.

The funding will be used to deliver a project aimed at strengthening and expanding the range of activities offered, including creative and nature-based sessions and groups, by setting up a new partnership of organisations from a wide range of sectors.

These activities will form part of Social Prescribing, a national initiative where people are supported to engage in local community-based activities & services that can improve their health; such as peer support groups, physical activities, social groups, debt advice services & volunteering opportunities. 

This new partnership will support the development of these activities by working with existing groups to help them become more sustainable in the long term and better connected into the local health & care system.

Photo by Richard Tomlinson

The money will also support a number of activities specifically for people most impacted by COVID-19. These include those with long term health conditions, care home staff, individuals with long covid and 18–35 year-olds who have had COVID and are at risk of being - or been - made redundant. Somerset County Council & Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group have also match-funded £5,000 each towards the project and have been integral in its development.

The partnership is now recruiting a Creativity and Wellbeing Co-ordinator to deliver this new project and the deadline for applications for this part-time post, hosted by Spark Somerset, is Monday 12 April 2021. Find out more from their Jobs Page.

‘This project offers a fantastic opportunity to bring many different sectors together, including the arts, to expand the Social Prescribing offer for the benefit of more people across Somerset,’ comments Mark Helyar, Co-Director of Theatre, Take Art. Examples of Social Prescribing include Word/Play, Take Art’s project for people experiencing mental ill health. It uses performance poetry to empower individuals, giving them the freedom and encouragement to tell their stories. It helps people build their confidence, develop skills, reduce feelings of isolation and find new ways to communicate in a safe and fun environment.

The Thriving Communities Fund is supported by the National Academy for Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Natural England and Historic England.